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Responding to Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts's response to harassment and discrimination is guided by University policy as well as state and federal guidelines. Remember that physical assault (including sexual assault) or destruction of property is criminal behavior and should be reported immediately to the University of Michigan Police Department


What Should You Do?

If plausible, seek an informal solution. It is often difficult to confront a person who is engaging in discrimination or harassment, especially when the person engaging in discrimination or harassment holds actual or perceived power over the person at whom it is directed. There are occasions, however, when an individual feels able to speak to the person engaging in discrimination or harassment to tell that person that the behavior is offensive and to stop. This can be done in person, by telephone, email, or letter, and may resolve the matter without further intervention.

Hate crimes and bias-related incidents are not necessarily discrimination. Unlawful discrimination or discriminatory harassment refers to specific conduct prohibited by law that unfairly treats people differently because of their race, sex, gender identity or gender expression, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, height, weight, or veteran status.

If you are the victim of discrimination or harassment, or think you may be, talk to someone. Discrimination or harassment for any reason is not tolerated at the University of Michigan. If you have been made to feel uncomfortable, intimidated, or targeted because of any of the character descriptors listed above, you should talk to someone about your concerns. There are several resources available for consultation related to discrimination and harassment. If you would prefer to talk to someone in a confidential setting, there are many confidential counseling resources available which are listed in Additional Resources.


Advice for Informal Resolution

Informal resolution is an optional method of addressing concerns. Although it is not an appropriate option in all situations, it can offer a number of benefits such as preserving relationships, correcting misunderstandings, and giving you control over the outcome. Self-help resources are available to assist with managing difficult or sensitive discussions. If you feel that you have been discriminated against or harassed and would like to explore options for informal resolution, consult with a representative in the Office of Institutional Equity.

The Office of Institutional Equity serves as a resource to the University community on issues of diversity, respect, and inclusiveness. They provide training on issues involving discrimination and harassment, investigate or provide assistance with discrimination and harassment complaints, and assist with reasonable accommodations for employees and general accessibility issues.

If informal attempts at resolution are unsuccessful, or you do not feel safe or comfortable enough to speak to a person, then you may want to explore avenues for formal action, including what to expect if you file a formal complaint.