It is the established policy of JMU to provide a work and study environment for faculty, staff and students free from all forms of harassment, bullying, and stalking. The university has both an obligation to prevent harassment, bullying, and stalking but must balance that with its concurrent obligation to protect students’ exercise of their free speech rights. The university takes both of these obligations seriously. Harassment and Stalking is prohibited at JMU. Bullying that rises to a level that meets the definitions of Harassment and/or Stalking below is prohibited at JMU.

There are several policies at JMU that deal with specific types of harassment. Sexual harassment is defined and addressed by JMU Policy 1340 and J34-100 Sexual Misconduct. Harassment on the basis of other protected classes is defined and addressed by Policy 1324 and J16-100 Harassment, Bullying, and/or Stalking. There is also a policy at the university that focuses on the protections provided to university members' rights to free speech, addressed in JMU Policy 1121.

Harassment is generally defined by JMU as unwelcome or offensive physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct that shows aversion or hostility towards a person that creates a hostile environment or is a term or condition of employment, education, membership, or participation in programs, services, opportunities, or activities. Under J16-100 Harassment, Bullying and/or Stalking, harassment of any kind is prohibited, including but not limited to harassment based on a person’s protected class (e.g. a person’s age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, parental status, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status). Harassment based on a person’s gender, gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation may also be addressed by JMU Policy 1340 and J34-100 Sexual Misconduct.

A hostile environment may be created by oral, written, graphic or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive and objectively offensive that it interferes with, limits or denies the ability of a person to participate in or benefit from the institution's educational programs, services, opportunities, or activities or the individual's employment access, benefits or opportunities. Mere subjective offensiveness is not enough to create a hostile environment.  In determining whether conduct is severe, persistent or pervasive, and thus creates a hostile environment, the following factors will be considered: (a) the degree to which the conduct affected one or more individuals' education or employment; (b) the nature, scope, frequency, duration, and location of the incident(s); (c) the identity, number, and relationships of persons involved; (d) the perspective of a “reasonable person” in the same situation as the person subjected to the conduct, and (e) the nature of higher education.

Conduct is considered “unwelcome conduct” if the individual subjected to the conduct did not request, consent to, or invite it and reasonably considers the conduct to be undesirable or harmful.

Stalking, defined as conduct occurring on more than one occasion that places another person in reasonable fear of bodily injury, or death, or that causes such fear concerning the other person’s family or household members, is prohibited. Stalking is also prohibited by JMU Policy 1340 and J34-100 Sexual Misconduct.

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