May 03 2022

Sexual Misconduct In Academia: What Are The Measures Available? 

Imala Green

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Did you know that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the United States Department of Education (ED) and the Federal courts define sexual misconduct in the education department in two forms? These are “quid pro quo harassment” and “hostile environment harassment.” 

The prime difference between both forms is the person who conducts such an awful act. The quid pro quo harassment includes misconduct with students by “school employees.” On the other hand, a hostile environment includes misconduct by an employee, another student, or a third party.

This type of behavior is severe, especially on the educational premises. Therefore, administrators should take necessary measures to prohibit such acts. But, before learning about the measures available, let’s take a look at the statistics. 

Statistics On Sexual Harassment In Educational Institutes:

According to the survey conducted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), 

  • 81% of the students have experienced one or the other kind of harassment during their school lives. 
  • 38% of students reported that they have been “harassed” by teachers or school employees.
  • 80% of students who have experienced “sexual harassment” reveal that their fellow students or former students were behind the act. 
  • Females are twice as likely to be asked for sexual favors as males. 


These statistics are indeed shocking and disheartening. But did you know that harassment or bullying goes the other way around as well? The same survey revealed that 36% of the teachers or school employees were harassed or abused by students. Yes, you read it right! 

Unfortunately, not every “real” victim of such contempt gets justice. In a few cases, the defendants are falsely held accountable for their actions. Therefore, it is essential to learn about sexual misconduct in academia and take appropriate measures. 

What Measures Can Administration Or Innocent Parties Take? 

In order to create a safe environment in the educational institution and assure students and teachers’ security, the administration or innocent parties can take the following measures. 

  • Address The Issue On Priority Basis

First things first, whether you have experienced sexual harassment or are being falsely accused, it is essential that you address this issue on an immediate basis. The delay in taking appropriate steps and seeking assistance from an attorney is likely to influence your case severely. 

In fact, if you are wrongly accused of misconduct, you need a sex crime attorney by your side. It is because they can help build your defense by collecting the evidence to prove your innocence. As attorneys deal with similar cases most of the time, they can understand all the things and thoughts that might be affecting you. They can give you confidence and help you overcome all your insecurities. 

  • Implement A Strict Anti-Harassment Policy

The administrators of educational institutions, be it schools or universities, must create and implement a strict anti-harassment policy. It should contain information about the penalties and punishment one might get for such contempt.

In addition to this, every student, teacher, and other school staff must be informed about the procedure to complain about such acts. It will ensure that the administrator is well-versed with the institution’s environment, especially related to sexual harassment and violence. They should also create a committee to help resolve these situations and serve justice. 

  • Educate The Students And Teachers About Government Rules And Protective Measures

Administrators must educate the students, teachers as well as other staff about sexual or any type of misconduct. For this purpose, they can hold seminars or special classes to talk about different types of harassment, bad touch, or even cyberbullying and harassment. 

Along with this, administrators can talk about government rules and guidelines to prevent harassment on the school and university premises. The best time for providing these guidelines and instructions is during the orientation. Know that it will help create a safe environment for the students and provide parents reassurance and new staff guidance. 

If it seems possible, administrators can provide self-defense classes, so the students or staff can protect themselves. 

  • Create A Free Flow Of Communication 

Last but not least, make sure that the constitution has a free flow of communication. It will ensure that in case of any contempt, the victim can speak about it to the authorities and seek justice. Furthermore, open communication affects the confidence of the abuser, minimizing the chances of harassment. Otherwise, it might become challenging for the institutions to manage such instances and assure safety. 

A Word From Verywell

Whether you or anyone you know has experienced this trauma or is falsely accused, it is essential that you encourage them to fight for their rights. Consulting an attorney, police, and higher authorities becomes vital in such scenarios. So, you must take the right step without any hesitation.

Tags: sexual harassment