• Sexual Assault and Misconduct
  • Report
  • Higher Ed

Employee-on-Student Sexual Harassment Claims

Hillary Pettegrew, Esq.
May 2021

Why Read This

Although in recent years sexual violence between students has received the lion’s share of attention from the federal government, public, and media, higher ed institutions are also responsible for preventing and, as necessary, responding to and remedying employee sexual harassment of students.

This report examines that issue and provides recommendations to help institutions prevent incidents of sexual harassment and respond to allegations if they occur. It is based primarily on United Educators’ (UE’s) review of higher education claims involving alleged sexual harassment of students by employees.

Key Takeaways

  • Of the claims UE received from 2005 through 2014 alleging sexual harassment of higher ed students by employees, half involved employees with a teaching role: tenured and non-tenured professors, adjunct faculty, and instructors.
  • Preventing and responding to sexual harassment of students by employees can be difficult, especially with high-profile employees such as tenured faculty and prominent coaches.
  • Because tenure rights are valuable, tenured or tenure-track faculty likely will vigorously fight charges of sexual harassment.

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