Discrimination & Discriminatory Harassment

“Members of the University community cannot thrive unless each is accepted as an autonomous individual and is treated without regard to characteristics irrelevant to participation in the life of the University. . . . The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law . . .”

University of Chicago Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct

Discrimination & Discriminatory Harassment

The University of Chicago is a community of scholars dedicated to research, academic excellence, and the pursuit and cultivation of learning. Freedom of expression is vital to our shared goal of the pursuit of knowledge and should not be restricted by a multitude of rules. At the same time, unlawful discrimination, including harassment, compromises the integrity of the University. The University is committed to taking necessary action to prevent, correct, and address instances of unlawful discrimination.

We have compiled an overview of discrimination and discriminatory harassment below, as well as a list of frequently asked questions and answers about University policies related to discriminatory harassment. In addition, you can learn more about resources available to members of the university community, including confidential resources, and how to report an incident of discriminatory harassment.

What is Discrimination?

Discrimination is the unjust or different treatment of a person on the basis of a protected characteristic under the law. Discrimination based on factors irrelevant to admission, employment, or program participation violates the University’s principles.

A protected class (or characteristic) under the law includes a person’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, and other protected classes under applicable law.

What is Discriminatory Harassment under the University’s Policy?

Discriminatory harassment is harassment of a person on the basis of a protected characteristic under the law.

A protected class (or characteristic) under the law includes a person’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, and other protected classes under applicable law.

Harassment is verbal or physical contact or conduct using technology that is so severe or pervasive that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or educational program participation, or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.

  • A person’s subjective belief that behavior is intimidating, hostile, or offensive does not make that behavior harassment. The behavior must be objectively unreasonable. Expression occurring in an academic, educational or research context is considered a special case and is broadly protected by academic freedom. Such expression will not constitute harassment unless (in addition to satisfying the above definition) it is targeted at a specific person or persons, is abusive, and serves no bona fide academic purpose.
  • Harassment includes same-sex harassment and peer harassment among students, faculty members, other academic appointees, staff, postdoctoral researchers, program participants, volunteers, and anyone on whom the University formally confers a title, regardless of employment status. Harassment by a faculty member, instructor, or teaching assistant of a student over whom the individual has authority, or by a supervisor of a subordinate, is particularly serious.

Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment and Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and its implementing regulations, prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities operated by recipients of Federal financial assistance. Sexual harassment, including acts of sexual misconduct, is a form of discriminatory harassment and sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. In addition, sexual harassment violates the standards of our community and is unacceptable at the University of Chicago. For more information about sexual misconduct and Title IX, visit the Sexual Misconduct and Title IX page.

Discrimination & Discriminatory Harassment at the University of Chicago

Discriminatory harassment, including sexual misconduct, may violate the law, does violate the standards of our community, and is unacceptable at the University of Chicago. Regardless of the definitions provided above, people who believe that they have experienced any discriminatory harassment, including sexual misconduct, are encouraged to report the incident and to seek medical care (if appropriate) and support as soon as possible. To raise concerns or to file a complaint under our Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct or Title IX, please visit our Get Help page.

Non-discrimination Statement

In keeping with its long-standing traditions and policies, the University of Chicago considers students, employees, applicants for admission or employment, and those seeking access to University programs on the basis of individual merit. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law (including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972). For additional information regarding the University of Chicago’s Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct, please see: http://harassmentpolicy.uchicago.edu/page/policy.

The University official responsible for coordinating compliance with this Notice of Nondiscrimination is Bridget Collier, Associate Provost and Director of the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs. Ms. Collier also serves as the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Affirmative Action Officer, and Section 504/ADA Coordinator. You may contact Ms. Collier by emailing bcollier@uchicago.edu, by calling 773.702.5671, or by writing to Bridget Collier, Office of the Provost, The University of Chicago, 5801 S. Ellis Ave., Suite 430, Chicago, IL 60637.

Read more about Title IX.