Dealing with Harassment

Although college campuses are for the most part safe, secure, and friendly places where social and intellectual interaction is mature and responsible, harassment can occur in any setting. Harassment is a general term referring to behavior that is intended to disturb or threaten another person in some way, often psychologically. Typically the person or people doing the harassment target their victim because of a difference in race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sex, age, sexual orientation, or disability.

Acts of harassment may be verbal, written, physical, or psychological actions intended to disturb another person. Bullying behavior, name-calling, belittling, gesturing obscenely, stalking, mobbing, or any action intended to torment or deliberately make another person uncomfortable or feel humiliated is harassment. Harassment may also be intended to manipulate a targeted person to act in some specific way.

Sexual harassment is a special term referring to persistent, unwanted sexual behaviors or advances. Sexual harassment may begin with words but progress to unwanted touching and potentially even rape.

Many types of harassment are illegal. In the workplace, a supervisor who tells off-color sexual jokes around an employee of the opposite gender may be guilty of sexual harassment. Students who deliberately malign members of another race may be guilty of committing a hate crime. Physically tormenting another student in a hazing may be judged assault and battery. Any discrimination in the workplace based on race, religion, age, sex, and so on is illegal.

Harassment of any type, at any time, of any person is wrong and unacceptable. You will know it if you are harassed, and you should know also that it is your basic right to be free of harassment. Monroe Community College has strict policies against all forms of harassment. Here’s what you should do if you are being harassed:

  1. Tell the person to stop the behavior, or if you feel at any risk of harm, get out of the situation immediately.
  2. Document the incident, particularly with ongoing harassment. Keep notes of the details. Tell someone you trust about the situation.
  3. Report the harassment to the appropriate college authority. If you are unsure where to go, first go to Public Safety.