Sexual Harassment and Violence Assistance

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment may occur in a variety of relationships, including faculty and student, supervisor and employee, student and student, employee and employee, and other persons having business with or visiting the University. It includes unwelcome sexual behavior by either males or females toward either males or females. It is a violation of University policy for an employee, student, or any other person associated with Northwestern Health Sciences University to sexually harass any employee, student, or any other person affiliated with the University. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, verbal or physical conduct or communication when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education.
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for or a favor in any employment or education decision affecting the individual.
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or educational experience, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment.

Forms of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment should always be considered within the realm of what is appropriate for the academic or professional setting. Below is a list of behaviors that may constitute sexual harassment and are therefore not tolerated at Northwestern Health Sciences University.

Verbal harassment may include sexual innuendo, humor, jokes or remarks that are stereotypical or derogatory to members of the same or opposite sex; repeated comments about a person’s anatomy, inquiries of sexual values or behaviors, as well as implied or blatant threats.

Physical harassment may include offensive contact (such as hugging, patting, pinching or brushing against the body), blocking movement, attempted or actual kissing or fondling or any other form of coerced sexual contact.

Nonverbal harassment may include:

  • Suggestive or insulting whistling, gestures or leering at one’s body
  • Offensive written messages (including email) of a sexual nature
  • Displays of pornographic pictures, posters, cartoons or other materials
  • Misuse of technology to display, download, or transmit obscene electronic images or other inappropriate material that harass an individual or group

Your situation may not fit these examples or behaviors exactly. If you are not sure if you have been harassed, you should discuss your concerns with the Director of Human Resources.

Examples of sexual harassment

  • A teaching assistant offers to do a favorable review of an assignment if the student will agree to go out for drinks with the teaching assistant.
  • An instructor refers to students in belittling and lewd terms.
  • A supervisor repeatedly hugs the employees in the office, causing the employees to feel discomfort.

Consequences of sexual harassment

If sexual harassment is found, a number of penalties against the offender may follow.

Please refer to the following documents for additional information:

How to handle sexual harassment

Keeping the Northwestern Health Sciences University community free of sexual harassment requires that each member of the community knows his/her rights, cooperates with those designated to help resolve such situations, and reports incidents of harassment – especially if he or she is a victim. When sexual harassment occurs, it hurts the whole community.

If you believe you are being sexually harassed:

  • Say “NO” to the harasser. Ignoring the situation will not make it go away. Be direct and firm. State, without smiling or apologizing, that you want the specific behavior to stop. If direct confrontation is uncomfortable for you, send a letter to the offender, describing the offensive behavior and a request that the behavior stop immediately. Keep a copy of your letter.
  • Keep records of what happened and when. Document in writing the names, dates, places, times, witnesses, the nature of the harassment and the impact it had on you.

Report the harassing behavior to the following:

  • Students: The Director of Human Resources or the Dean of Student Affairs
  • Employees: The Director of Human Resources

Acts of sexual violence, including sexual assault, are criminal behaviors and create an environment contrary to the goals and mission of Northwestern Health Sciences University.

Sexual violence includes a continuum of conduct that includes sexual assault, and non-forcible sex acts as well as aiding acts of sexual violence. Northwestern Health Sciences University defines sexual assault as any unwelcome sexual contact (actual or threatened) or penetration to which the victim has not consented. This contact includes, but is not limited to, rape or attempted rape; forced sodomy; forced penetration by a foreign object, including a finger; contact with an individual or individual’s clothing in the genital, groin, inner thigh, buttocks or breast areas; the use of force or coercion in requiring an individual to commit or submit to any kind of attempted sexual act. Examples of sexual assault include rape, acquaintance rape, date rape, or attempted sexual assault. Unwelcome contact includes an individual’s refusal of consent or inability to consent due to mental or physical incapacity. This includes inability to consent due to sleep, intoxication, or being under the influence of drugs.

What to do if you believe you have experienced sexual violence

There is no right or wrong way to react to sexual violence. Do whatever you think may result in the least amount of harm to you.

  1. Seek safety. Go to a safe place. If it is an emergency, call 911.
  2. Talk with someone you trust and establish a supportive environment as soon as possible.
  3. The reporting of any and all incidents of sexual violence to a law enforcement agency is encouraged.
  4. You are encouraged to seek medical care to protect your health.
  5. Make a complaint through established procedures within the University.
  6. Remember, you are not to blame. You did not deserve the violent act, and you deserve help.

Student resources

  • Dean of Student Affairs – ext. 381
  • University Counselor – ext. 458
  • Director of Human Resources – ext. 437
  • Sexual Violence Center (24-hour hotline) – 612-871-5111
  • Rape and Sexual Abuse Center (24-hour hotline) – 612-825-4357

Employee resources

  • Director of Human Resources – ext. 437
  • Sexual Violence Center (24-hour hotline) 612-871-5111
  • Rape and Sexual Abuse Center (24-hour hotline) 612-825-4357

Police

Emergency – 911

Bloomington Police
952-563-4900 (non-emergency)

Hospitals

Fairview Southdale Hospital
6401 France Ave. S., Edina, MN 55435
952-924-5000

Abbott Northwestern Hospital
800 E. 28th St., Minneapolis, MN 55407
612-863-4000

Fairview University Medical Center – Riverside
2450 Riverside Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55454
612-672-6000

Regions Hospital
640 Jackson St., St. Paul, MN 55101
651-254-3456

Crime victim rights

Victims of sexual violence have specific rights under state and federal law. These rights include the following:

  1. The right to file criminal charges with local law enforcement.
  2. Assistance by University personnel, upon request of the victim, in notifying appropriate law enforcement officials and disciplinary authorities of an incident of sexual assault.
  3. Assistance of University authorities, at the direction of law enforcement authorities, in obtaining, securing and maintaining evidence in connection with an incident of sexual assault.
  4. Assistance of University authorities in preserving materials relevant to a campus disciplinary proceeding.
  5. Investigation and resolution of a sexual assault complaint by appropriate campus authorities.
  6. The victim may participate in any campus disciplinary proceedings concerning the sexual assault complaint.
  7. The victim and accused may be accompanied by others including an attorney or other support person at any campus disciplinary proceedings concerning the sexual assault complaint. However, such attorney or other support person can only be present and cannot actively participate in the disciplinary proceeding.
  8. The victim and the accused will be informed of the outcome of any campus disciplinary proceedings concerning an allegation of sexual assault.
  9. At the request of the victim, university authorities in cooperation with appropriate law enforcement authorities will provide assistance in shielding the victim from unwanted contact by the alleged assailant, including transferring the victim (if a student) to alternative classes if available and feasible.
  10. Victims of sexual assault have rights under the Crime Victim Bill of Rights, including rights to assistance from the Crime Victims Reparation Board and the Commissioner of Public Safety. Information regarding a victim’s rights may be obtained from the Crime Victim Justice Unit.
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