University of California, San Diego


March 8, 2000


SUBJECT:    Reaffirmation of University of California, San Diego's Policy on Sexual Harassment

As Chancellor, I am taking this opportunity to reaffirm UCSD's commitment to creating and maintaining a community in which everyone can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of all forms of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation, including sexual harassment. UCSD does not tolerate sexual harassment, and such behavior is prohibited both by law and by UCSD policy.

UCSD revised its Policy on Sexual Harassment effective August 13, 1999. It is available online at http://hyundai.ucsd.edu/ppm/docs/200-10.HTML. For hard copies of the policy, or for information regarding UCSD's policy and resolution procedures, please contact the Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention and Policy (OSHPP), 201 University Center (858-534-8298). The enclosed Information Sheet also provides a summary of the new policy and resolution procedures. Additional resources are available online at OSHPP's webpage, at http://orpheus-1.ucsd.edu/oshpp/.

Supervisors are urged to review their responsibilities under the Policy, and in particular, the requirement that complaint resolutions handled at the department level be reported to OSHPP (see Policy, section IV.C.2).

Creating a harassment-free community requires ongoing commitment on the part of everyone. Please join me in supporting this commitment.

                                                       Robert C. Dynes

Information Sheet

The University of California, San Diego, is committed to creating and maintaining a community in which all persons who participate in UCSD programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of all forms of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation, including sexual harassment. Every member of the UCSD community should be aware that UCSD will not tolerate sexual harassment and that such behavior is prohibited both by law and by UCSD policy. Retaliation against a person who brings a complaint of sexual harassment is also strictly prohibited and may result in separate disciplinary action. It is UCSD's intention to take whatever action may be needed to prevent, correct, and if necessary, discipline behavior which violates this policy. All members of the UCSD community, including faculty, students, and staff, are responsible for insuring an environment free of sexual harassment.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which is illegal under both federal and state law. It can be verbal, visual, or physical. Although what constitutes sexual harassment will vary with the particular circumstances, it is defined as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is

  1. So severe (i.e. outrageous, abusive, humiliating and/or intimidating rather than merely offensive) that a single incident could poison the environment, or

  2. Somewhat less severe, but repeated or pervasive, and that creates an environment in the workplace or educational setting that the victim finds hostile and that a reasonable person in the victim's position would also find to be hostile.

It is important to take into account the totality of the circumstances - including such things as the frequency of the offensive conduct, its seriousness, whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, the location of the conduct, the context in which it occurred, the degree to which the conduct affected the education or employment environment, and the relationship between the parties.

While sexual harassment often occurs between persons of differing power, it may also occur between colleagues or peers, including between students. In addition, while the majority of reported cases of sexual harassment involve a male harassing a female, sexual harassment may also involve a female harassing a male, or a male or female harassing a person of the same gender. A definition and examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment are included in UCSD's Policy on Sexual Harassment and Complaint Resolution, available online at:


For information about hard copies of the policy, contact the Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention and Policy, 201 University Center (858-534-8298).

How Can Sexual Harassment Issues be Resolved? There are both formal and informal procedures for resolving sexual harassment complaints. The goal of informal resolution is to stop the offending conduct. The process itself is informal and does not typically involve disciplinary procedures. Depending on the circumstances, informal resolution options could include educational programs for targeted units or for particular individuals, or mediation between the parties. Where informal resolution is unsuccessful or inappropriate, a formal complaint may be filed and a formal investigation undertaken. There is no prescribed sequence, so choosing one option first does not prevent a complainant from choosing a different option for resolution later on. Individuals with concerns about sexual harassment are urged to seek assistance early, for under most circumstances, the sooner an incident or situation is addressed, the better the chances are for successful resolution.

Resources: The Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention and Policy provides assistance in investigating and resolving complaints of sexual harassment and provides education to the entire UCSD community, including faculty, students, and staff. Emphasis is on prevention and early resolution. Individuals who have complaints or concerns about sexual harassment are encouraged to contact OSHPP to obtain information about UCSD's sexual harassment policies and procedures and to explore options for resolution and other appropriate services. For additional information, including information about confidentiality and due process, contact OSHPP at 858-534-8298 or one of the Sexual Harassment Information Advisors listed in the UCSD Telephone Directory. OSHPP also maintains a webpage with information about UCSD policy and procedures at: