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Sexual Harassment/Misconduct

Vanderbilt prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct and harassment. The University will take prompt and effective action to address all allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment. All forms of sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual violence, and stalking, [1] are prohibited. 

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. It is illegal under state and federal law and is a violation of University policy. Sexual harassment is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. In 1980, the Equal Opportunity and Access Commission amended its “Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Sex” under Title VII to include sexual harassment. It states that “[u]nwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when 1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment; 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.”  Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), 20 U. S. C. Section 1681 et.seq, prohibits sexual discrimination and harassment in education programs and activities. The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education defines sexual harassment under Title IX and sets forth a policy stating that sexual harassment “consists of verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, imposed on the basis of sex, by an employee or agent of a recipient [of federal funds] that denies, limits, provides different, or conditions the provision of aid, benefits, services, or treatment protected under Title IX.”

The University is committed to taking prompt and effective action when allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct are made. This action may include interim measures to protect the involved parties such as changes in class or work schedules, changes in housing, administrative leave, or other measures as deemed appropriate.

University policy prohibits retaliation of any kind. Retaliation against any person who makes a complaint or has participated in the investigation or resolution of a complaint is a violation of University policy. The University will take prompt and responsible action to any reports of retaliation.

Vanderbilt encourages anyone who has witnessed, experienced, or has information about possible sexual harassment and/or sexual misconduct to take reasonable actions to prevent or stop such actions. This may include reporting the behavior, direct intervention when it is safe and reasonable to do so, contacting law enforcement or other means.

The University offers resources to faculty, students, and staff seeking assistance with the complaint process. Reports to certain employees and departments will remain private, but not confidential. There are some confidential resources available for those persons who wish to seek help without making a report to the University.


Complaint procedures and information

For Faculty

For Staff

For Student Information click here

[1] Sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual violence, and intimate-partner violence are broad terms designed to capture a spectrum of behavior.