Understanding harassment

Sexual harassment is prohibited based on federal law-Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Washington State Law - RCW 9A.36.080- Malicious Harassment.

For students and employees (male and female): sexual harassment is unwanted and unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature which interferes with a student’s or employee’s right to learn, study, work, achieve, or participate in university activities in a comfortable and supportive atmosphere. You have a right to participate in all university, classroom and internship activities in an atmosphere free from sexual harassment. You have a responsibility not to engage in sexual behaviors that are unwelcome or offensive to others.

Examples of sexual harassment include: unwelcome sexual advances, suggestive or lewd remarks, unwanted hugs, touches, kisses; requests for sexual favors; retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment, derogatory or pornographic posters, cartoons or drawings, Sexual harassment includes sexual violence. Sexual violence includes rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.

If you have questions or believe that you or others are being harassed, contact:

Cynthia Johnson
Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator
Old Main Bldg., Room 221

Melanie Richardson
Dean of Student Affairs
Old Main Bldg., Room 206

Howard Thronson
Director of Public Safety
Old Main Bldg.; Room 251

You may also contact the following:

The Washington State Human Rights Commission
711 S. Capitol Way, Suite 402
PO Box 42490 Olympia WA 98504-2490
Telephone: 360-753-6770, TDD: 1-800-300-7525

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
915 2nd Avenue, Room 3310
Seattle, WA 98174-1099
Telephone: 206-220-7900, TDD: 206-220-7907

Filing complaints can also be done electronically through the OCR electronic complaint form site. The site offers information on how OCR handles complaints and it answers most of your questions about the complaint process.   

Sexual harassment is not limited to prohibited behavior by a male toward a female, or by a supervisory employee toward a non-supervisory employee, a faculty to a student or a non-employee to a student. The victim does not have to be the opposite sex of the harasser. Harassment may be student to student, student to staff, staff to student faculty to student, student to faculty, faculty to faculty, staff to staff, or a non-employee to student. The gender of the complainant and/or the alleged harasser is irrelevant, even if they are of the same gender. Sexual harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity is also prohibited under State Law.

What should I do if I believe I am being sexually harassed?

  • Review Saint Martin’s University’s policy and procedures for handling sexual harassment issues. Follow those procedures.
  • Take action and get help when needed. Ignoring sexual harassment is not an effective way to stop it.
  • Whenever possible, tell the harasser verbally or in writhing what the specific behaviors are that you find offensive. Ask him or her to stop.
  • Report the offensive behaviors to a faculty member, counselor, Title IX coordinator, or university administrators.
  • Keep a detailed record of the harassing behavior to share with university officials who investigate your complaint.
  • If not satisfied with the resolution of your concerns, contact one of the appropriate organizations listed.

The victim does not have to be the person at whom the unwelcome sexual conduct is directed; the victim may be someone who is a witness to and personally offended by such conduct although directed toward another. Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct that is personally offensive, lowers morale and interferes with educational performances. This unwelcomed sexual behavior is defined from the perspective of the victim, not the harasser.

For questions or consultations, you can visit the Counseling and Wellness Center in Old Main Room 203 or  call 360-438-4371 (Mon, Wed, Thurs and Fri) or 360-438-4513 (Tues, Thurs and Fri).

Other off campus resources

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone face to face you can use any of the following services over the phone:

  • The Crisis Clinic, 360-586-2800 (information/referral to community resources)
  • St. Peter Hospital, 360-491-9480
  • Safe Place ( rape, relief/women’s shelter), 360-754-6300
  • Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-562-6025

Additional information: An article written by Dean of Student's Affairs on Sexual Harassment on campus.

Stalking is another aspect of harassment. The link on technology safety and cyber stalking provides further help, resources and information on this issue.

General information on discrimination

Additional resources and information on discrimination is provided on this link to the Office for Civil Rights. On this link, it describes their mission and the population they serve. Specifically, on their site, they state that they: "…serve student populations facing discrimination and the advocates and institutions promoting systemic solutions to civil rights problems. An important responsibility is resolving complaints of discrimination. Agency-initiated cases, typically called compliance reviews, permit OCR to target resources on compliance problems that appear particularly acute. OCR also provides technical assistance to help institutions achieve voluntary compliance with the civil rights laws that OCR enforces. An important part of OCR's technical assistance is partnerships designed to develop creative approaches to preventing and addressing discrimination." Feel free to visit this site for more information.   

Saint Martin's University's non-discrimination statement:

The principles of the Catholic Benedictine tradition, equal employment opportunity, and nondiscrimination are fundamental to the mission, goals, and objectives of Saint Martin’s University (SMU). SMU does not discriminate on the basis of sex or disability in educational or employment programs. Such non-discrimination is required by Title IX as implemented.

Questions may be directed to:

Cynthia Johnson
Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator

5300 Abbey Way SE.
Old Main Bldg., Room 221
Lacey, WA 98503

Director, OCR, Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
915 2nd Avenue, Room 3310
Seattle, WA 98174-1099
Telephone: 206-220-7900, TDD: 206-220-7907