Administrative Policies

AD91 Discrimination and Harassment and Related Inappropriate Conduct

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Suzanne Adair, 814-863-0471,

Policy Steward: 

Vice President for Administration


  • Purpose
  • Policy Statement
  • Conduct Prohibited By This Policy ("Prohibited Conduct")
  • Reporting Incidents of Discrimination or Harassment (Non-Sexual or Non-Gender-Based) or Conduct Otherwise Prohibited By This Policy
  • Anonymous Reporting
  • Sanctions
  • Free Expression and Academic Freedom
  • External Complaints
  • Further Information
  • Cross References

    To establish the University’s policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment in all forms, and retaliation related to reports of such conduct. This policy is a companion to University Policy AD85, Sexual and/or Gender-Based Harassment and Misconduct (Including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Related Inappropriate Conduct), which sets forth the University’s policy on gender-based discrimination and harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and related inappropriate conduct, including mandatory reporting requirements. For resources and reporting information on gender-based harassment, including sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct, please refer to Policy AD85.


    The University is committed to equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment for all persons. It is the policy of the University to maintain an environment free of harassment and free of discrimination against any person because of age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or political ideas. Discriminatory conduct and harassment, as well as sexual misconduct and relationship violence, violates the dignity of individuals, impedes the realization of the University’s educational mission, and will not be tolerated.

    This policy shall not be construed to restrict academic freedom at the University, nor shall it be construed to restrict constitutionally protected expression.

    Conduct prohibited by this policy may also violate applicable federal and state law. Additional information about how to pursue or report a violation of this policy, is set forth below.


    • Harassment means behavior consisting of physical or verbal conduct that is sufficiently severe or pervasive such that it substantially interferes with an individual’s employment, education or access to University programs, activities or opportunities and would detrimentally affect a reasonable person under the same circumstances. Harassment may include, but is not limited to, verbal or physical attacks, stalking, graphic or written statements, threats, or slurs. Whether the alleged conduct constitutes prohibited Harassment depends on the totality of the particular circumstances, including the nature, frequency and duration of the conduct in question, the location and context in which it occurs and the status of the individuals involved. Information regarding issues of sexual or gender-based harassment specifically, including definitions and information about the University’s procedures for reporting and processing such incidents, can be found in University Policy AD85.
    • Discrimination is conduct of any nature that denies an individual the opportunity to participate in or benefit from a University program or activity, or otherwise adversely affects a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, or living environment, because of the individual’s age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or political ideas.
    • Retaliation, as defined in University Policy AD67, is also prohibited by this policy and may subject the individual who retaliates in violation of this or other University policy to discipline or sanctions.


    The University encourages anyone who becomes aware of possible Prohibited Conduct to immediately report such Prohibited Conduct to the appropriate individuals or offices, as set forth below.

    If there is any danger to person or property, individuals are strongly encouraged to first report the incident to the applicable police or public safety department.

    Incidents of Gender-based Discrimination, as defined in this Policy AD91, should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator via one of the following methods:

    1. Fill out the form on the Title IX website:
    2. Contact the Title IX Coordinator directly, via telephone or email:

      Christopher Harris, Title IX Coordinator

      328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802

      Phone: (814) 863-0471

      Email: or

    All other forms of potential discrimination should be reported as follows:

    Reporting all other forms of potential discrimination
    For Conduct Committed by Report To Contact Information
    Students or Student Organizations Office of Student Conduct (814) 863-0342
    Employees or third parties Affirmative Action Office

    Office of Human Resources, Employee Relations Division

    Office of Ethics and Compliance
    (814) 863-0471,

    (814) 865-1412

    (814) 867-5088,
    Students, employees, or third parties affiliated with the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Robert Boland, Athletics Integrity Officer (814) 865-0722
    Students, employees, or third-parties at the Penn State College of Medicine Kim Lantz Yoder, Equity Officer and Deputy Title IX Coordinator (717) 531-0003, ext. 283353

    Note: This Policy addresses gender-based discrimination as defined above. The definition does not include sexual and gender-based harassment. University Policy AD85 addresses sexual and gender-based harassment, including how such conduct is defined. For information on how to report sexual and gender-based harassment, please see Policy AD85.


    Anyone may make an anonymous report of Prohibited Conduct by contacting the Ethics and Compliance Hotline at 1-800-560-1637.

    For more information on anonymous reporting, please see and


    Against Students: Disciplinary sanctions for student violations of this policy will be imposed in accordance with the “Code of Conduct & Student Conduct Procedures Manual". Sanctions range from conduct conversation, conduct warning, conduct probation, conduct suspension, and indefinite expulsion, and permanent expulsion. In addition, possible secondary administrative sanctions may include housing review, room reassignment, loss of housing, and loss of privilege. The University reserves the right to impose other sanctions in addition to those listed above in response to a specific circumstances of a case.

    Against Employees: Disciplinary sanctions for employee violations of this policy, which may range from a disciplinary warning to termination from the University, will be imposed in accordance with applicable University policies. Disciplinary sanctions may include one or more of the following measures:

    • Termination from the University
    • Unpaid suspension
    • Restrictions from all or portions of campus
    • Change in working facility
    • Mandated education
    • Written reprimand in personnel file
    • Removal from classroom teaching
    • Tenure revocation
    • Withhold salary increase (from one to several years)
    • Removal of endowed chair
    • Removal of emeritus status
    • Removal of graduate school status
    • Termination of research project funding
    • Removal from administrative position


    The University is committed to its long-standing tradition of academic freedom and free expression. The University is an institution whose members may express themselves, while protecting and respecting the rights of others to learn, to do research, and to carry out the essential functions of the University free from interference or obstruction. When addressing complaints of violations of this policy, the University will take all permissible actions to respond appropriately while respecting the rights of free expression and academic freedom. See HR64, AD47 and AD51.


    The University encourages all individuals with a pertinent complaint to follow the process in this Policy. However, individuals may always choose to make a discrimination complaint directly with outside agencies, including, but not limited to, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education based in Philadelphia, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, Harrisburg Regional Office. Contact information for these agencies can be found at the Affirmative Action Office website.


    For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the General Counsel.


    Affirmative Action Office Website

    Code of Conduct & Student Conduct Procedures Manual

    Penn State College of Medicine Web Site

    Sexual Harassment and Assault Reporting and Education (SHARE)

    AD47 - General Standards of Professional Ethics

    AD51 - Use of Outdoor Areas for Expressive Activities

    AD67 - Disclosure of Wrongful Conduct and Protection From Retaliation

    AD85 - Sexual And/or Gender-Based Harassment and Misconduct (Including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Related Inappropriate Conduct) (Formerly Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Related Inappropriate Conduct)

    HR64 - Academic Freedom

    Most Recent Changes:

    • August 24, 2018 - Editorial changes to update personnel information for the Title IX Coordinator and the Athletics Integrity Officer.

    Revision History (and effective dates):

    • May 14, 2018 - Editorial changes to update hyperlinks.

    • August 22, 2017 - Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinator personnel changes.

    • September 29, 2016- New Policy. Verbiage addressing general discrimination and harrassment and related inappropriate conduct has been moved from AD85 to create this new policy.

    Date Approved: 

    September 29, 2016