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Resources for Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct

Graduate students are entitled to learning and training environments free from discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct. This page highlights resources that students can turn to should they encounter such prohibited behaviors. The Graduate School has also created 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. The Graduate School has printed copies of the flyer that departments can request (contact

In addition to the resources listed below, students with concerns about any of these issues 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.

picture of the reporting guide on a tabletGuide to Reporting Harassment, Discrimination, and Other Concerns

The Graduate School has developed an interactive guide to provide information for its students about options, resources, and processes for reporting and addressing harassment, discrimination, and related concerns. See the guide at

The guide was based on the work of Ph.D. candidate Kirsten Overdahl. Learn more about her efforts.


Student Resources

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.

Sexual Misconduct

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

Resources flyerPrint 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.






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).