The University’s Nondiscrimination Statement
The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office of Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, (734) 763-0235, TTY (734) 647-1388. For other University of Michigan information call (734) 764-1817.
The Statement of Student Rights & Responsibilities
The Statement of Student Rights & Responsibilities sets forth the rights and responsibilities of University students regarding, among other things, discrimination and harassment.
Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Gender Expression Policy
The University of Michigan believes that educational and employment decisions should be based on individuals’ abilities and qualifications and should not be based on irrelevant factors or personal characteristics which have no connection with academic abilities or job performance. It is the policy of The University of Michigan that no one should be subjected to discrimination or harassment based on their sexual orientation. For information about programs and services refer to the Spectrum Center.
The University’s policy on Discriminatory Harassment
The University of Michigan strives to create a community of and for learning. To do so requires an environment of trust and openness. Discrimination, as defined in Regents’ Bylaw 14.06 and a Presidential Policy Statement issued in March 1984, is unacceptable on University of Michigan campuses. Such behavior threatens to destroy the environment of tolerance and mutual respect that must prevail if the University is to fulfill its purpose.
The University is firmly committed to these policies prohibiting discrimination. Discriminatory harassment is one form of discrimination. The University is prepared to act to prevent or correct discrimination and discriminatory harassment on the part of its faculty and staff. Although discriminatory harassment described and prohibited by this policy includes a wide range of behaviors, it does not include certain discriminatory conduct even though that conduct may be otherwise unlawful, offensive, or prohibited by University policy. For example, sexual harassment (see the University of Michigan Policy on Sexual Harassment by Faculty and Staff, SPG 201.89-0), unequal pay, and denial of access to educational programs based on gender are unlawful discrimination not addressed by this policy.
The University has a compelling interest in assuring an environment in which productive work and learning may thrive. At the same time, the University has an equally compelling interest in protecting freedom of speech and academic freedom and in preserving the widest possible dialogue within its instructional and research settings.
Definition of Discriminatory Harassment
The following types of behavior are discriminatory harassment and are subject to discipline:
Verbal or physical conduct by a member of the faculty or staff that is based upon race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ancestry, age, height, weight, marital status, disability or Vietnam-era veteran status and that:
- adversely affects a term or condition of an individual’s education, employment, housing or participation in a University activity; or
- is used as the basis for a decision that adversely affects an individual’s education, employment, housing or participation in a University activity; or
- has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for academic pursuits, employment, housing, or participation in University activities.
The University’s Sexual Harassment Policy for Faculty and Staff
It is the policy of the University of Michigan to maintain an academic and work environment free of sexual harassment for students, faculty, and staff. Sexual harassment is contrary to thstandards of the University community. It diminishes individual dignity and impedes equal employment and educational opportunities and equal access to freedom of academic inquiry.
Sexual harassment is a barrier to fulfilling the University’s scholarly, research, educational, and service missions. It will not be tolerated at the University of Michigan.
Sexual harassment violates the University’s long-standing policy against discrimination on the basis of sex. Sexual harassment is also illegal. It is prohibited in the employment context by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, in the education context by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and, in both employment and education contexts, by Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, adopted in 1976.
Sexual harassment can be a very serious matter having far-reaching effects on the lives and careers of individuals. Intentionally false accusations can have similar impact. Thus the charge of sexual harassment is not to be taken lightly by a charging party, an accused party, or any member of the University community. A person who knowingly and intentionally files a false complaint under this policy is subject to University discipline.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
For the purposes of determining whether a particular course of conduct constitutes sexual harassment under this policy, the following definition will be used:
Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes harassment when:
- submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University activity;
- submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for or a factor in decisions affecting that individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University activity; or
- such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or abusive environment for that individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University activity.
Conduct alleged to be sexual harassment will be evaluated by considering the totality of the particular circumstances, including the nature, frequency, intensity, location, context, and duration of the questioned behavior. Although repeated incidents generally create a stronger claim of sexual harassment, a serious incident, even if isolated, can be sufficient. For example, a single suggestion that academic, other educational, or employment rewards or reprisals will follow the granting or refusal of sexual favors, will constitute sexual harassment and grounds for action under this policy.
This policy addressed intentional conduct. It also addresses conduct which results in negative effects even though such negative effects were unintended. Sexually-related conduct forms the basis of a sexual harassment claim if a reasonable person, in view of all the surrounding circumstances, would consider it sufficiently severe or pervasive to interfere unreasonably with academic, other educational, or employment performance or participation in a University activity or living environment.
Sexual harassment most often occurs when one person has actual or apparent power or authority over another; however, it may also occur between individuals of equal status or rank within the University. Sexual harassment may occur between males and females and between persons of the same gender.
Although sexual harassment as described and prohibited by this policy includes a wide range of behaviors, it does not include certain discriminatory conduct even though that conduct may be otherwise unlawful, offensive, or prohibited by University policy. For example, unequal pay and denial of access to educational programs based on gender are unlawful sex discrimination not addressed by this policy. Also, not all harassment based on gender or sexual orientation may be addressed by this policy, if such conduct is not sexual in nature or sexually motivated. Some conduct which negatively emphasizes gender, gender differences or sexual orientation may violate this policy, but may also be a violation of another University policy. Harassment that is both racist and sexual in nature would be addressed by this policy and possibly by other University policies as well.
Faculty-Student and Employee-Student Relationships
The University strongly discourages its faculty and staff from engaging in romantic and/or sexual relationships with students. In such relationships, voluntary consent by the student is suspect because of the inherently unequal nature of the relationship. Such relationships can lead to a complaint of sexual harassment when the student feels exploited. When a faculty member engages in such a relationship with a student over whom the faculty member has supervisory responsibility, the faculty member is obligated to disclose the relationship to the University. Similarly, when a staff member has such a relationship with a student and the staff member’s professional responsibilities make it possible for the staff member to influence the student’s status or circumstances, the staff member is obligated to disclose the relationship to the University. Upon disclosure, the University will take action to eliminate any real or perceived conflict. For more information, please refer to SPG 601.22, Faculty-Student Relationships and SPG 601.22-1, Employee-Student Relationships.
Disability discrimination can occur whenever a qualified individual with a disability is denied the same equal opportunities as other University students, faculty and staff because of their disability status.
Under applicable disability laws, an individual with a disability is a person who:
- has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
- has a record of such an impairment; or
- is regarded as having such an impairment. Temporary, non-chronic impairments that do not last for a long time and that have little or no long-term impact usually are not disabilities. The determination of whether an impairment is a disability is made on a case-by-case basis.
For additional information about this topic, please visit the Campus Commitment website.