Office of the Provost


TO: University of Pittsburgh Faculty, Teaching Fellows, and Teaching Assistants
FROM: James V. Maher
DATE: November 2, 2004
SUBJECT: University Policies on Harassment and Discrimination

Workplace harassment and discrimination are concerns for all institutions, but are particularly troubling to institutions entrusted with the education of young people. As members of the University community, we all have a responsibility to understand the University’s policies and procedures related to harassment and discrimination. At the end of this month, you will receive a copy of the University’s current policies and guidelines regarding discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, and faculty-student relationships. I urge you to become familiar with these guidelines.

As a member of the faculty, you may have supervisory relationships with students, staff, or fellow faculty members. In this capacity, you have a special responsibility to understand what you yourself should do when allegations of harassment or discrimination come to your attention. If you receive a complaint or hear even indirectly about a problem in your area that might reasonably be construed as sexual harassment, harassment, or discrimination, in many cases you are required (by University policy and by case law) to take some timely action. You may not ignore it.

An online course regarding the prevention of sexual harassment is available at ; the course is quite useful in that it gives specific examples and can be completed quickly. I urge all faculty to take this online training module, and I remind those of you with any sort of supervisory responsibilities that you are, in fact, required to successfully complete this module during the current academic year. You should also be aware of the booklet, Sexual Harassment: Guidelines & Responsibilities for University Administrators (available online at This document is intended to help administrators and supervisors deal effectively with allegations of sexual harassment that come to their attention.

The University is committed to maintaining an environment in which all can work and learn effectively with no fear of harassment or discrimination. As a faculty member, you are in a position that is most important in creating and maintaining such an environment. I have asked the department chairs (or, where a school does not have departments, deans) to discuss the University’s Sexual Harassment and Faculty-Student Relationship policies with you at a faculty meeting this fall.

I appreciate your assistance in helping us achieve our goals.

cc: Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg
Senior Vice Chancellor Arthur S. Levine
Acting General Counsel Jerome Cochran
Members of the Council of Deans

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