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Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions



What ARE sexual harassment AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE?

For terms in bold, please see Definitions.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature when: (i) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, or participation in University programs or activities; or (ii) submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person or persons is used as a basis for employment or educational decisions affecting such person or persons, or participation in University programs or activities; or (iii) such conduct unreasonably interferes with a person or person’s work or academic performance; interferes with or limits a person or person’s ability to participate in or benefit from a work or academic program or activity; or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.

Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • sexual exploitation;
  • gender-based bullying;
  • to attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship;
  • to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention;
  • to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request;
  • to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances.

While it is not possible to list all those additional circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct which if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances including the severity of the conduct, its persistence, and its pervasiveness:

  • Sexual emails;
  • Sexting, or sexual messages or images posted on social media, for example, texts, instant messages, Facebook posts, Tweets, Snapchat, Instagram, blog entries;
  • Physical contact such as patting, pinching, or purposely rubbing up against another’s body;
  • Unwelcome sexual advances -- whether they involve physical touching or not;
  • Sexual “kidding,” epithets, jokes, written or verbal references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one's sex life; comment on a person's body, comment about a person's sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess;
  • Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons;
  • Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, suggestive or insulting comments;
  • Inquiries into one's sexual experiences; and,
  • Discussion of one's sexual activities.

Not all unwelcome sexual behavior is considered prohibited sexual harassment. For example, a mere utterance of a gender-based epithet which creates offensive feelings in an employee or student may be inappropriate, but it would not normally affect the terms or conditions of their employment or education.

Sexual violence is any physical sexual act or activity engaged in without the consent of the other individual, including when the other individual is unable to consent to the act or activity (See also, definition for Consent).


Where can I receive confidential support or assistance?

Counseling Services 978-934-4331 Wellness Center, University Crossing, 3rd floor

Student Health Services Wellness Center, University Crossing 3rd floor 978-934-4991

Additionally, there are a number of off-campus organizations which may be of assistance. Please see Part VIII of the Sexual Violence, Discrimination, and Misconduct Complaint Procedure (pdf).


How do I report sexual harassment, sexual violence, or other sexually inappropriate behavior?

If you have a question about the implementation of Title IX, or to file a Title IX complaint, contact Clara I. Orlando, Title IX Coordinator, Director, Equal Opportunity and Outreach, Wannalancit Mills, 3rd Floor, Clara_Orlando@uml.edu, 978-934-3565.

A report can be filed through the Office of Student Conduct, the Student Affairs Office, or UMass Lowell Police Department.

Title IX Coordinator:

  • Clara I. Orlando, J.D., Director of Equal Opportunity and Outreach & Title IX Coordinator, Wannalancit Mills, 600 Suffolk Street, Suite 301, Lowell, MA 01854, 978-934-3567.

For Title IX questions or complaints between students:

  • Ann Ciaraldi, Assoc. Dean of Student Affairs, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, University Crossing, 220 Pawtucket Street, Suite 200, Lowell, MA 01854, 978-934-2100.
  • Bo Zaryckyj, Director of Student Conduct, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, University Crossing, 220 Pawtucket Street, Suite 200, Lowell, MA 01854, 978-934-2100.

For Title IX questions or complaints involving faculty, staff, vendors, contractors or any other third party:

  • Clara I. Orlando, J.D., Director of Equal Opportunity and Outreach & Title IX Coordinator, Wannalancit Mills, 600 Suffolk Street, Suite 301, Lowell, MA 01854, 978-934-3567.
  • Rebecca Hall, Senior EOO/Employment Specialist Human Resources and Equal Opportunity & Outreach, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Wannalancit Mills, 600 Suffolk St, Suite 301, Lowell, MA 01854, 978-934-3563.
  • Donna Vieweg, Senior EOO/Employment Specialist Human Resources and Equal Opportunity & Outreach, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Wannalancit Mills, 600 Suffolk St, Suite 301, Lowell, MA 01854, 978-934-3566.

University Police

If the incident is a crime, you may contact the UMass Lowell Police Department or the local police department.

The UMass Lowell Police Department strongly advocates that a victim of sexual assault report the incident in a timely manner. Time is a critical factor for evidence collection and preservation. An assault should be reported directly to the UMass Lowell Police Department; filing a police report will not obligate the victim to prosecute, nor will it subject the victim to scrutiny or judgmental opinions from officers.

Filing a police report will:

  • Ensure that a victim of sexual assault receives the necessary medical treatment and tests, at no expense to the victim;
  • Provide the opportunity for collection of evidence helpful in prosecution, which cannot be obtained later (ideally a victim of sexual assault should not wash, douche, use the toilet, or change clothing prior to a medical/legal exam)
  • Ensure the victim has access to free confidential counseling from counselors specifically trained in the area of sexual assault crisis intervention.

Lowell Police

Phone: 978-937-3200 

External Agencies

You may also contact the following regarding filing a formal complaint:


The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

John F. Kennedy Federal Building
Boston, MA 02203
800-669-4000
TTY: 800-669-6820


The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)

One Ashburton Place
Sixth Floor, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108
617-994-6000
TTY: 617-994-6196


Office for Civil Rights

Boston Office
U.S. Department of Education
33 Arch Street, Suite 9000
Boston, MA 02110-1491
617-289-0111
TDD: 877-521-2172

Please see the reporting page for additional contact information.


If someone tells me he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment, sexual violence, or other inappropriate sexual behavior, what should I do?

Please see the Responsible Employees page.

If you are not considered a Responsible Reporting Employee such as a supervisor, please tell a supervisor or contact Equal Opportunity and Outreach at 978-934-3565 for more information.


How can I help prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence?

Please see the Be an Active Bystander page.


What should I know about sexual or dating relationships between employees and their supervisors, or between faculty and their students?

Consensual relationships exist when there is a welcome relationship of a dating, romantic, intimate or sexual nature, where one of the parties has institutional responsibility for or authority over the other, or is involved in evaluation of the other. Examples of such relationships are dating between a faculty member or advisor and a student when those relationships are welcome to both parties, or an intimate or sexual relationship between a supervisor and his/her reporting employee when that is welcome to the both parties.

Romantic or sexual relationships between people with this type or reporting or evaluating responsibility can compromise the integrity of the exercise of responsibility, create the potential for abuse of authority, or cause problems due to the perceptions or misperceptions of others.

The integrity of the faculty-student relationship is the foundation of the UMass Lowell's educational mission. Whenever a faculty member is responsible for academic supervision of a student, a personal relationship between them of a romantic or sexual nature, even if consensual, is inappropriate. Any such relationship jeopardizes the integrity of the educational process.

If any member of the University community wishes to engage in a consensual relationship, he/she should notify Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Outreach (HR/EOO), at 978-934-3565. HR/EOO will confer with the relevant administrators regarding options for reassignment so that a supervisory or evaluation relationship no longer exists.