The University of Toronto sexual Harassment policy.docx

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22 Apr 2012
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The University of Toronto
Sexual Harassment policies
Focus on the different details of each guidance and how they differ
Guide for students
Sexual harassment jeopardizes the rights of staff, students and faculty and will not be tolerated
by the university of Toronto
University policy is based on the Ontario human rights code
It provides definition of unacceptable conduct; procedure for making formal complaints and a
range of remedial and disciplinary measures up to and including dissimisal and expulsion
Sexual harassment is unwanted sexual attention, or an undue focus on a person's sex or sexual
orientation. Under the Human Rights Code it is a form of unlawful discrimination.
University Policy defines sexual harassment as any unwanted emphasis on the sex or sexual
orientation of another person, or any unwelcome pressure for sex. It is conduct which creates an
intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment, and which a reasonable
person would realise was unacceptable.
It may include:
suggestive comments or gestures
sexual innuendo or banter
leering
remarks about looks, dress or lifestyle
pressure for dates
homophobic insult
verbal abuse
intrusive physical behaviour or contact
where any of these conducts is unwelcome.
The Policy requires people to treat one another courteously, fairly, and with respect for
individual values and preferences.
Sexual harassment is not:
consensual sexual interaction
physical affection between friends
mutual flirtation, joking or teasing
general statements of opinion or belief
Teacher/Student relationships and conflicts of interest
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University policy does not explicitly prohibit romantic or sexual relations between teachers and
students. However, if a teacher and a student have an intimate personal relation as well as a
professional one, they are in a conflict of interest. University policy on conflict of interest
requires that in any circumstance where an employee's personal and professional interests
overlap, s/he must declare the conflict to her or his own supervisor, who will arrange for
someone else to evaluate the student's work. This is to safeguard the right of all students to fair
and unbiased treatment.
Any sexual overture from a teacher to a student is potentially troublesome. If you are concerned
that a teacher is singling you out for any form of special attention, or is making sexual invitations
or suggestions, you should seek advice from the Sexual Harassment Office. If you are
romantically involved with a teacher you should make sure that arrangements are made for
independent evaluation of your work
Guide for graduate students
Teaching assistants
TAs are sometimes accused of sexual harassment by their students. The following comments
address some of the issues that arise.
Teacher/student relationships
TAs who become romantically or sexually involved with a student they teach are in a conflict of
interest. University policy on conflict of interest requires that in any circumstance where your
personal and professional interests overlap you must declare the conflict to your own supervisor,
who will arrange for someone else to evaluate that student's work. This is to safeguard the right
of all your students to fair and unbiased treatment.
TAs should also be aware that sexual invitations or suggestions to their students leave them open
to allegations of sexual harassment. TAs have authority over students, and thus any intimate
overture can readily be interpreted as coercive.
Professional conduct
A Teaching Assistant's relation with students is a professional one and as such many personal
comments or questions (about looks, personal life, sex life, etc.) are improper and potentially
damaging. Remarks which focus on the sex or sexual orientation of individuals can constitute
sexual harassment. If you are unsure of the appropriateness of your comments, or your audience
reacts negatively, you should probably desist.
Similarly, you should give careful consideration to your physical conduct with students. Many of
us touch one another in conversation, or greet friends and colleagues with a hug. This is fine
when the recipient is familiar to us and we are peers, but it may not be fine with your students.
Because of the possible overtones of such gestures, you should ask yourself how they might be
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