University of Maryland officials, attempting to protect students, faculty members and staff members, have drafted a policy on sexual harassment that addresses subtle behavior, including remarks about clothing or sexual jokes.
"It basically puts us all on notice when we're in the classroom," said Mady Segal, an associate sociology professor and a chairwoman of the committee that drafted the statement.
College Park Chancellor John Slaughter's Commission on Women's Affairs worked for more than two years on the new policy, which defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors or certain other behaviors of a sexual nature.
The policy, which took effect during the summer, makes clear that sexual harassment may occur in a variety of relationships and includes more subtle behavior, such as remarks about clothing or sexual jokes or stories.
Officials stressed that the policy was not drafted in response to particular incidences on campus. Instead, they said a clear statement about sexual harassment has been urged by the American Council on Education and the Supreme Court.
Janet Hunt, an associate sociology professor and chairwoman of the Campus Senate, said that the campus previously had a sexual harassment policy, but the new statement is more inclusive.