Sexual Harassment

Iowa State University has a Discrimination and Harassment Policy. Click here to be redirected to the webpage.


Sexual harassment is any unwelcomed advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in which submission to or rejection of such conduct affects an individual's work or school performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. *
Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, unwanted:

  • Exposure of a body part
  • Graffiti
  • Looks or stares
  • Sexual or profane gestures
  • Sexual compliments, comments, or jokes
  • Sexual emails, text messages, or letters
  • Touching, grabbing, pinching

Sexual harassment can happen to anyone regardless of gender, sex, age, race, ethnicity, strength, power position, sexual orientation, size, religion, and ability.

If you are being sexually harassed, consider the following:

  • Tell the harasser that the behavior is unwanted and that it must stop immediately
  • Document incidents of harassment
    • Keep track of the date, time, behavior or words use
  • Talk to a person you trust who will listen and support you
  • Make a complaint with Iowa State University

If you someone who is being sexually harassed, here are ways you can help:

  • Believe the victim
    • Sexual harassment is not a form of flirting. Avoid telling the victim that it's not that big a deal and they should enjoy the compliments and gestures. Sexual harassment is an unwanted behavior that affects a person's emotions and work or academic performance.
  • Be an ally
    • If you feel comfortable, stand up to the harasser and let the person know that their actions are unwanted and inappropriate. If the harasser hears from others that their actions are inappropriate, they may realize the victim isn't just being "up-tight" and will stop their harassing behavior.
  • Encourage the victim to file a complaint with the university if the harassment continues.
  • Provide resources to help the victim.