What is Harrassment?

Harassment based upon race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation or political philosophy (fn) is conduct that interferes with an individual's work or academic performance or participation in University programs or activities, and creates a working or learning environment that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or hostile.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual attention that unreasonably interferes with an individual's working or learning environment. It may involve intimidation, threats, coercion, sexual advances, request for sexual favors or other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Harassment may occur between individuals of the same or opposite gender and between students, faculty, staff, and administrators. It may occur when one individual holds a position of real or perceived authority over the other or between individuals of equal status. Harassment can occur anywhere on campus, including the classroom, workplace, residence hall or within any University sponsored program or activity.

To constitute harassment, the behavior must be severe or pervasive. Harassment can take many forms, and deciding whether harassment has occurred means examining each situation and all of the circumstances.

Harassment based upon protected classes may involve:

  • physically assaulting behavior
  • repeatedly intimidating, teasing, mocking or joking based on an individual's race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression,veteran status, political affiliation or political philosophy
  • repeatedly directing racial or ethnic slurs at an individual
  • repeatedly telling an individual that he/she is too old to understand new technology
  • repeatedly pressuring an individual for dates or sexual favors
  • repeatedly displaying sexually explicit visual material (calendars, posters, cards, software, and web sites)
  • repeatedly giving or sending inappropriate gifts, calls, letters or e-mails
  • promises or rewards (a better grade, or a promotion) in return for sexual favors
  • unwelcome physical contact
  • sexual assault*

*While all sexual harassment is against the law, sexual assault is a criminal act and must be reported to the UCCS Department of Public Safety (ext. 3111) or city police.

Examples of protected-class harassment:

  • Julie, a supervisor, repeatedly makes ethnically disparaging comments to Juan, such as, "If you don't do your job correctly, I'm going to send you back south of the border."
  • Thomas acts and behaves in a more feminine manner and as a result, his classmates frequently tease him and call him a "queer" and a "girlie man."
  • Professor Jones is in her office when her student Steve comes in, closes the door and suggestively says, "I'd do anything for an A in your class."

If you are experiencing discrimination and/or harassment, you may:

  • have feelings of confusion, fearfulness, powerlessness, guilt, or shame
  • lose motivation
  • experience a loss of self-esteem
  • feel inclined to drop a class or quit your job
  • feel inclined to change majors, change careers or even leave the University

What should I do if I think I have experienced or witnessed harassment?

  1. Tell the harasser or discriminator to stop

    If you feel comfortable doing so, directly and succinctly tell the individual to stop the offensive behavior. The individual may be unaware that you find the behavior to be offensive or unwelcome.

  2. Say it in writing

    In many cases, stating your feelings in writing to the individual, whether via a letter, email or text, may clear up any misunderstandings and cause the behavior to stop. The writing should include a statement such as: "When you (stare at me, put your hand on my shoulder, make sexual, racial, or religious comments/jokes), I feel uncomfortable. I want you to stop that behavior immediately."

  3. Tell someone

    Discussing the situation with someone will help you sort out your feelings and decide what to do. You may want to talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, or a resource on campus. (See Resources tab.)

  4. Keep a record

    What happened? When? Where? Who were the other people present? How did you feel? Save written notes/correspondence, voice mail, e-mail and text messages, as well as any social media interaction.

  5. Report the incident promptly

    Incidents of discrimination and harassment should be reported to the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (719-255-4324, odh@uccs.edu) as soon as possible.

    Professional staff will work with you to determine the most appropriate means of addressing your concerns. Additionally, all supervisors are required to report possible discrimination or harassment to the ODH whenever they experience, witness or are told about it. However, anyone who is aware of discrimination, harassment or related retaliation should promptly report such behavior to ODH.

What if I am a victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or gender-based harassment?

Sexual assault is a crime and must be immediately reported to the police. Additionally, reports of sexual harassment, sexual assault or gender-based harassment should be reported promptly to the Office of Discrimination and Harassment. The information found in the Process tab provides a useful summary of the rights and options of victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or gender-based harassment.

Note, the term veteran status includes a person who serves or has served in any branch of the U.S. military, including ROTC.

Julia Paris, J.D.
Discrimination and Harassment Officer
Title IX Coordinator
Kelly Mattingly
Discrimination and Harassment Investigative Assistant
Office of Discrimination & Harassment
Academic Office Building, Room 528 and 530
(719) 255-4324, on campus: x4324