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Sexual Harassment

UH Hilo Home > EEO/AA

Chancellor's Message

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is committed to ensuring a safe learning and working environment in which the dignity of every individual is fully respected. By taking a strong stand against sexual harassment, we build mutual respect where students, faculty and staff can reach their fullest potential.

Our success depends on the cooperation of the entire University community. We must all work together to prevent sexual harassment, and to deter those who may engage in any other form of discriminatory behavior.

Donald Straney, Chancellor

Preventing Sexual Harassment: An Interactive Web-Based Course

If you have problems connecting to the above link, you may go directly to: for "Preventing Sexual Harassment: An Interactive Web-Based Course".

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is illegal and unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature. It may involve the abuse of power or it my be insensitive and thoughtless actions that are offensive.

It may occur between a faculty member and student, employer and employee, or between students or co-workers.

We often fail to even recognize harassing behavior as wrong, because so many of us, women and men alike, have become desensitized to offensive behaviors.

Both women and men can be victims of sexual harassment, and it can occur between people of the same or opposite sex.

Sexual harassment in any form is unacceptable behavior and should not be tolerated by anyone. It undermines our ability to study, to work, and to feel effective, empowered people in the world.

Examples of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can take many forms. The following are a few examples.


  • Unnecessary offensive brushing, touching or body contact
  • Unwanted hugging, an arm around your shoulder, patting your arm
  • Unwanted cornering, pinching, or patting
  • Attempts to fondle or kiss you


  • Sexual put-downs, jokes, cartoons or teasing
  • Inquiring into your sexual experiences or orientation
  • Comments that sexually humiliate you
  • Written communications, including emails, with sexual overtones, name calling, obscene language
  • Remarks about your physical appearance which imply sexual interest
  • Threats ("If you don't go out with me, I'll give you a 'D'.")
  • Pressure to accept social invitations, to meet privately, to date, or to have sexual relations ("If you have dinner with me, it will help your grade in the class")


  • Staring at your body or leering
  • Sexually suggestive or insulting looks or gestures
  • Wolf whistling, hooting, lip-smacking or other obscene animal noises
  • Stalking
  • Indecent exposure
  • Sexually denigrating pictures on the walls in offices or residence halls
  • Inappropriate gifts (e.g., lingerie)

To be considered sexual harassment, the conduct must be:

  • uninvited
  • unwanted
  • non-reciprocal

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. It is also a violation of university policy and will not be tolerated on the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus.

Complaint Procedures

The EEO/AA Director or the Dean of Students and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs can give you information on informal and formal complaint procedures.  In some cases, informal procedures are effective in stopping sexual harassment.  Formal complaint procedures exist to protect all students and employees and may also be directly downloaded at:

For Advice, Information, Counseling or Other Support:

Barbara Bird Heintz, Counselor
Student Services Building, Room 201
Phone (808) 933-3116
TTY: (808) 932-7002
Director, Women's Center
Campus Center, Room 312
Phone: (808) 974-7306
TTY: (808) 932-7002
Gail Makuakane-Lundin, Director, Kipuka Native Hawaiian Student Center
PB 12, Room 8
Phone: (808) 974-7413
TTY: (808) 932-7002

To File a Complaint Against a Student:

Jim Mellon, Dean of Students & Asst. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Student Services Building, Room 210
Phone: (808) 933-0859
Fax: (808) 974-7691
TTY: (808) 932-7002

To File a Complaint Against an Employee:

Jennifer Stotter, Director
Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action, Title VI, Title IX
Trailer E (Behind the Business Office)
Phone/Fax: (808) 932-7641
TTY: (808) 932-7002