Last updated August 25, 2022

Graduate students are entitled to learning and training environments free from discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct. The Graduate School has developed several resources to help our students understand the options and processes for reporting and addressing such concerns:

  • We have created an interactive reporting guide in collaboration with graduate students and campus partners. It walks students through various scenarios and concerns and explains confidential and non-confidential sources they can talk to, where they can file a report, and what happens once they file the report. | See the guide
  • The information below highlights resources that students can turn to should they encounter discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct.
  • We have also collaborated with graduate students to create a flyer of these resources (PDF), which we encourage students, faculty, and staff to print out and post in their office, lab, and common areas to help increase awareness of these policies and resources.

Students with concerns about any of these issues or other situations can also reach out to The Graduate School’s Office of Student Affairs (, 919-684-2056). Please note that members of the Graduate School staff are required to report information about discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct.


Reporting Guide

Our interactive guide provides information on options, resources, and processes for reporting and addressing harassment, discrimination, and related concerns. 

See the Guide

Resources for Students

Offices/people that can keep your information confidential
Offices/people that are required to report your information



Duke University is committed to encouraging and sustaining a learning and work community that is free from prohibited discrimination and harassment.

What Is Discrimination?

Discrimination refers to the unfair or unequal treatment of a person or group based on factors such as age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Harassment of any individual due to any protected status is addressed under Duke’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct.

What Is Harassment?
  • Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct—which may or may not be sexual in nature—that, because of its severity and persistence, interferes significantly with an individual’s work or education, or adversely affects an individual’s living conditions.
  • When a person uses a position of authority to engage in unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:  
    • submission to such conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; or  
    • submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for decisions affecting an individual’s education or employment.  

Harassment includes discriminatory behavior based on age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Duke University prohibits all forms of sex/gender-based harassment, sexual/gender violence, sexual exploitation, relationship violence (domestic violence and dating violence), stalking, and retaliation.

Important Definitions

Sexual Violence

A physical act of a sexual nature without consent or unable to freely give consent

Relationship Violence (Domestic Violence and Dating Violence)

Any act of violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature

Domestic violence: Any act of violence committed by:

  • A current or former spouse
  • A person cohabitating with or has cohabitated with
  • A person similarly situated to a spouse under domestic or family law
  • Anyone else protected under domestic or family law


  • A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to
    • Fear for their safety or the safety of others
    • Suffer substantial emotional distress
  • Includes cyberstalking


  • Affirmative decision
  • Mutually acceptable sexual activity
  • Clear actions or words
  • NOT inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of resistance alone
Reporting Sexual Misconduct

Reports should be filed according to the Duke affiliation of the accused. Accusations against students should be filed with the Office of Student Conduct, while accusations against faculty and staff are reported to the Office for Institutional Equity


Print and Post

Help increase awareness about resources and policies to support our graduate students and address problematic situations. Print out this flyer and post it in your office, lab, and common areas.

Download Flyer

Some of the information on this page is adapted from the Duke Resources Guide created by a team of participants in The Graduate School’s Emerging Leaders Institute. Team members included Tiffany Farr (master's student, Graduate Liberal Studies), Hannah McMillan (Ph.D. candidate, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology), Saraswathi Subramaniyan, Ph.D. (postdoctoral associate, Anesthesiology), and Feichen Yang (Ph.D. student, Chemistry).

The interactive reporting guide is based on material created by Ph.D. candidate Kirsten Overdahl and was developed by The Graduate School in collaboration with Overdahl, the Nicholas School of the Environment, and the Duke Office for Institutional Equity. Overdahl's original work was funded by a Reimagining Doctoral Education (RiDE) summer fellowship.