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Sexual Harassment Resources

Sexual Harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or verbal, written or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a manager, supervisor, co-workers or non-employee (third party).  Sexual harassment may occur between members of opposite genders or the same gender.  It may occur on the basis of sexual orientation.  It may occur in any context in which sex is introduced into a business or university relationship.  Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision.

  • Quid pro quo – A form of sexual harassment when a manager/supervisor/professor or other person of authority gives or withholds a work- or school-related benefit in exchange for sexual favors. Typically, the harasser requires sexual favors from the victim, either rewarding or punishing the victim in some way.
  • Hostile environment – A form of sexual harassment where there is sufficiently severe or pervasive unwelcome conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the performance of an employee or student.  In a hostile environment situation, the conduct may create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive education or working environment, and may include such conduct as:
  1. Unwelcome physical contact or behavior, such as touching, or making sexually explicit gestures, or jokes;
  2. Unwelcome displays of posters, pictures, words, or messages;
  3. Unwelcome sexual remarks, such as making suggestive statements about an individual’s body, clothes, or movements;
  4. Introduction of sexually explicit materials into the classroom or workplace without a legitimate educational or work-related purpose.

Complaint Procedure

By law, all reports of sexual harassment must be investigated, meaning that the complaint would be initiated following Policy 1324’s formal complaint procedures. 

Begin the process by filling out the OEO Intake Form.  You may also contact the office by phone or email to discuss the situation.

Sexual Assault Definition

Sexual harassment and sexual assault are two different things.  Sexual assault is a criminal offense.  Sexual assault is any sexual contact without consent, and includes intentional touching or being forced to touch another person. Categories of sexual assault include rape, incest, fondling, voyeurism (peeping toms) & indecent exposure.  Sexual assault can happen to women or men.

To have consent, acts must not be committed through the use of force, intimidation, threats, or through the use of the victim’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness. If a person is intoxicated, they are unable to give consent.


JMU has many resources available to help if you are sexually assaulted:

As a first step, please consult Student Health’s guide – “What to do if you are assaulted”

You may also contact Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX for assistance and to report an assault.

Sexual Trauma Empowerment Program (STEP): The Counseling & Student Development Center offers free and confidential short and long-term individual, group, and emergency sexual trauma counseling services for JMU students; advocacy services for survivors, including assistance with medical, judicial, and legal referrals; and, finally, consultation services, including consultation around Title IX, for faculty, staff, family members, and friends of survivors of sexual trauma.