Sexual Harassment

Cornell College affirms the rights of its students, faculty, and staff to live, work, and study in an environment free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment committed in connection with any College program, on or off campus, is prohibited. This policy applies to academic, educational, co-curricular, athletic, residential, workplace, and other College activities and programs.

Students, faculty, and staff must be aware that consensual romantic or sexual relationships – particularly between individuals of unequal status – may be or become a violation of this policy. The College particularly recognizes the potential for abuse in romantic or sexual relationships between faculty members and students and between staff supervisors and their student employees / advisees. (See Statement on Personal Relationships in the Professional Setting)

Sexual harassment will not be tolerated and must not be ignored by victims or witnesses. Any such conduct should be reported promptly to the Dean of Students, the Dean of the College, or the Director of Human Resources. An appropriate investigation into the complaint will be conducted.

A violation of the Cornell College policy on sexual harassment might also be a violation of state or federal law. Individuals who believe they have been sexually harassed may have the right to bring legal action, in addition to pursuing simultaneously a formal complaint with the College.

Any retaliation against a person who reports alleged harassment or discrimination, or against a witness or other participant in an investigation, is strictly prohibited and will be considered a violation of this policy.

This policy shall not be construed to discourage legitimate intellectual inquiry, debate, discussion or advocacy on the Cornell campus consistent with principles of academic freedom and free speech rights.

Sexual Harassment Policy Statement

It is the policy of Cornell College that no member of the college community -- students, faculty, administrators, staff, vendors, contractors, or third parties -- may sexually harass any other member of the community.  Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute harassment when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made or threatened to be 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 or threatened to be used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating what a reasonable person would perceive as an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, education, or living environment. 

Students should be aware that courts have also sometimes ruled that unwanted sexual behaviors that have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic, co-curricular, or work performance are sexual harassment.  And, stalking is generally considered a form of sexual harassment and may include, but is not limited to, repeatedly following a person; persistent attempts to contact the person by phone, electronic communication, or regular mail; vandalizing the person’s property or leaving unwanted items for the person; and/or constantly appearing at the person’s classroom, residence, or workplace without permission.  Though these behaviors are not explicitly stated in Cornell’s Sexual Harassment and Sexual Abuse Policy, students should be aware that they may constitute sexual harassment.