Sexual Harassment Offenses

If you believe that you are the survivor of sexual harassment, you may use either the informal or formal procedures outlined below:

Informal Procedures

1. You may seek a resolution of the matter through discussions with the alleged offender. Before adopting this approach, however, you may choose to seek advice from Brenda Polyard, (BrendaPolyard@missouristate.edu), Affirmative Action Liaison, West Plains Civic Center, 417-255-7966, on how best to confront an individual whose conduct you believe to be offensive.

2. You may report the incident(s) to the alleged offender's immediate or general supervisor. The appropriate supervisor to contact in each of the following cases is as follows:

Alleged OffenderAppropriate Contact
Faculty Member Department Head or Dean
Staff Member Immediate Supervisor or Department Head
Student Coordinator of Student Life and Development

Formal Procedures

If you decide to file a formal complaint, you should contact Brenda Polyard, the Affirmative Action Liaison, West Plains Civic Center, 417-255-7966.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is interaction of a sexual nature between people that results in sex discrimination. It occurs where work or study relationships are inappropriately and gratuitously sexualized and encompasses such conduct as:

  1. The use of sexual favors as a basis for actions affecting an individual's welfare as a student or employee.
  2. Flagrant or repeated sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and physical contacts of a sexual nature harmful to another's work or academic performance or the work or learning environment.
  3. Repeated demeaning verbal or expressive behavior which is harmful to another's work or learning environment.
  4. Unwelcome sexual conduct with such conduct becoming a term or condition of an individual's education or employment. Often, sexual harassment involves relationships of unequal power and so contains elements of coercion and threat. The sexual attention forced on a particular individual may not only be unwanted, but also disturbing, producing feelings of inferiority and discomfort in the victim. Sexual harassment as described and defined in this paragraph is prohibited at Missouri State University.

Some Examples of Sexual Harassment

  • Sam needs help with a literature assignment. He is wary of talking to his professor because the one time Sam asked for help before, the professor said, "I don't have any office hours free. The only time I have available is at night. Why don't you come over to my apartment?"
  • Jane is one of three women in her mathematics class. The male professor frequently says things like, "Women just can't do math," and he tells jokes about women in sexual situations.
  • Brad is a legislative intern in the state capital. His supervisor, a respected legislator, has told him that he can guarantee himself a good evaluation by being "friendly."
  • Pete, who is in Amanda's history class, has asked her out several times. She has said no. He sits right next to her each class period, talks about her attractive body and "accidentally" bumps up against her all the time.