Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Sexual Discrimination and Harassment

Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Dr. Bill Boerner,
Chief Diversity Officer & Director
Fenton Hall Room 143
SUNY Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
Ph: (716) 673-3358


University Policy

As an educational institution, SUNY Fredonia is committed to maintaining a campus environment where all members of the academic community are able to work and pursue collegial study in an atmosphere of mutual respect, civility and trust. Any violation of this trust damages the institution’s educational mission by undermining the freedoms of inquiry and expression. We must make it unmistakably clear to every member of the faculty and academic staff, to every employee and every student that sexual harassment will not be tolerated here on this campus.

As a form of discrimination, sexual harassment is a violation of both federal and New York State laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and New York Human Rights Act of 1982.

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What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment in the Employment Setting is defined as:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when any of the following occurs:

  • Submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of an individual's continued employment, promotion or other condition of employment.
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting an employee or job applicant.
  • Such conduct is intended to interfere with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Sexual Harassment in the Educational setting is defined as:

Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment of a student denies or limits, on the basis of gender, the student's ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities in the educational institution's program.


What can you as a student do when you believe that...

  • Course material ignores or depreciates you because of your sex;
  • An adviser does not take your career and educational goals seriously because she/he appears to believe them inappropriate for members of your sex;
  • You are denied resources, such as financial aid, teaching assistantships, or admission to a program for sexist reasons;
  • You are pressured by a professor or staff person to participate with him/her in social and/or sexual activities?

Speak out! Students often feel powerless in such situations but there are people on campus who are willing to talk to them about those problems without any obligation on the part of either party. Such situations as those described above are not condoned by SUNY Fredonia.

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Actions You Can Take (in suggested order)

1.  Talk to the professor or staff person.

Explain why you view the particular comment, joke, course reading, action taken, etc. as sexist. Regard the meeting as a consciousness-raising session where you can help him/her understand how you feel. Sometimes people are not aware of how their remarks or actions affect someone else, and communicating your feelings to the professor might be helpful to him/her in avoiding such actions in the future. Prepare for the meeting by bringing documentation (class notes, tapes, specific comments, etc.).

Consider going to see the professor with other people from class. You might also seek help from those listed below.

2.  Contact the following University staff:

Ann McCarron Burns, University Police (extension 3465)
David Herman, Student Affairs (extension 3271)
Monica White, Student Affairs (extension 3271)
Jellema Stewart, Multicultural Affairs (extension 3398)
Kevin Kearns, Academic Affairs (extension 3335)
Bill Boerner, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (extension 3358)
Gary Bice, Residence Life (extension 3341)

3.   Write a letter to the professor or staff person.

If you have talked to the professor and staff person and the perceived sexual discrimination continues, write a letter to him/her documenting the incidents and explaining why they are offensive. State that you have not obtained results from previous discussion(s) and note the date(s) of the discussion(s). Send a copy to the head of the department or unit and to one of the above-listed people. If you fail to receive a satisfactory answer from the staff members and/or department or unit head, request a meeting to discuss the issue.

4.   File an informal or formal grievance or complaint.

This step should not be undertaken without discussion with a staff member who understands established grievance procedures at SUNY Fredonia. Once again, consult with one of the people on the above list. Detailed information, including the complaint form is available on the Dispute Resolution page. 

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Page modified 11/25/13