Definitions and Examples

Misconduct that falls within this policy includes:

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome verbal or non-verbal  sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, and/or conduct directed at an individual(s) because of gender when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or student status; or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions affecting that individual with regard to employment (raises, job, work assignments, discipline, etc.) or to student status (grades, references, assignments, etc.); or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably and objectively interfering with an individual's work performance or educational experience or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work and/or educational environment. Such conduct generally involves more than one incident and must be severe, persistent or pervasive (or may be severe, persistent and pervasive).  Depending on the nature of the incident, more than one action or incident is typically necessary to constitute this form of sexual harassment.

Acts that constitute sexual harassment take a variety of forms and may include but are not limited to the following unwelcome actions:

  1. Propositions, invitations, solicitations, and flirtations of a sexual nature.
  2. Threats or insinuations that a person’s employment, wages, academic grade, promotional opportunities, classroom or work assignments, or other conditions of employment or academic life may be adversely affected by not submitting to sexual advances.
  3. Verbal expressions of a sexual nature, including sexual communications about a person’s body, dress, appearance or sexual activities; the use of sexually degrading language, name calling,  sexually suggestive jokes, or innuendoes;  suggestive or insulting gestures, sounds or whistles; sexually suggestive phone calls.
  4. Sexually suggestive objects or written materials, such as social media, e-mail or internet communications, pictures, photographs, cartoons, text messages, videos, or DVD’s.
  5. Inappropriate and unwelcome physical contact such as touching, patting, pinching, hugging or other sexually suggestive contact.
  6. Stalking of a sexual nature (i.e. persistent and unwanted contact of any form whether physical, electronic or by any other means). For stalking to fall within this policy, the content or the nature of the stalking must have a sexual component.
  7. Stereotyping or generalizing about a group based on gender.  These types of comments typically constitute sexual harassment when associated with other sexual behavior or comments.

While a particular interaction must be offensive to both a reasonable person and to the complainant to be defined as harassment, faculty and staff members and other persons of authority should be sensitive to questions about mutuality of consent that may be raised and to the conflict of interests that are inherent in personal relationships that result from professional and educational interactions. Harassment is particularly damaging when it exploits the educational dependence and trust between students and faculty/staff. When the authority and power inherent in faculty/staff relationships with students, whether overtly, implicitly, or through misinterpretation, is abused in any way, there is potentially great damage to the individual student, to the accused individual, and to the climate of the institution.

Sexual Exploitation

Occurs when an individual takes non-consensual, unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another; for his/her own advantage or benefit; or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited; and that behavior does not otherwise constitute non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse or sexual harassment.  Sexual exploitation includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Non-consensual video or audio taping of any form of sexual activity
  2. Voyeurism, the practice of observing others engaged in intimate or sexual acts without the persons’ consent
  3. Knowingly exposing a person to  an STI or HIV to another person
  4. Prostituting another person by offering a person for sexual activity in exchange for payment.
  5. Invasion of sexual privacy, including exposing one’s sexual body parts or exposing another’s sexual body parts
  6. Child pornography as defined in federal, state or local law.
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact or Activity

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is contact that involves all of the following:

  1. Any intentional sexual contact or sexual activity;;
  2. with any object or body part;
  3. by a person upon another person; and
  4. without consent

Sexual Contact includes:  Intentional contact with the breast(s), buttock(s), groin or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts; making another person touch you or themselves with any of these body parts; and/or any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.
Sexual Activity includes: Intentional bodily activity that is sexual in nature and involves the breast(s), buttock(s), groin or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts; or making another person touch you or themselves with any of these body parts.

Forced Sexual Contact or Activity

Forced Sexual Contact is contact that involves all of the following:

  1. Any intentional sexual contact or sexual activity;  
  2. by force or against the will of the victim.  Force includes:  the use of physical means, violence, threats, intimidation or coercion;
  3. with any object or body part; and
  4. by a person upon another person.

Sexual Contact includes:  Intentional contact with the breast(s), buttock(s), groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts; making another person touch you or themselves with any of these body parts; and/or any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.

Sexual Activity includes: Intentional bodily activity that is sexual in nature and involves the breast(s), buttock(s), groin or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts; or making another person touch you or themselves with any of these body parts.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is intercourse that involves all of the following:

  • Any sexual intercourse (anal, oral or vaginal);
  • with any object or body part;
  • by a person upon a person; and
  • without consent.
Forced Sexual Intercourse

Forced Sexual Intercourse is intercourse that involves all of the following:

  1. Sexual intercourse (anal, oral or vaginal);
  2. with any object or body part;
  3. by a person upon another person; and
  4. by the use of force, including physical force, threat, intimidation or coercion
Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner Violence, defined as violence or abuse between those in a close romantic, or intimate relationship to each other. Intimate Partner Violence can consist of intimidation, harassment, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or interference with personal liberty of any person by someone in an intimate relationship, as described below.

These actions may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Physical abuse: hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, or hair pulling.
  2. Sexual abuse: marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence, treating one in a sexually demeaning manner, coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent.
  3. Psychological or emotional abuse: a pattern of behavior undermining an individual's sense of self-worth or self-esteem, constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling. 

Close, romantic, or intimate partner relationship includes:

  1. Persons who have or have had a dating relationship
  2. Persons who have or have had a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature
Stalking

Stalking can be in two different forms

Stalking 1: A course of conduct:

  1. Directed at a specific person;
  2. On the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class;
  3. That is unwelcome; and
  4. Would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Stalking 2

  1. Repetitive and menacing behavior; or
  2. Pursuit, following, harassing and/or interfering with the peace and/or safety of another.
Additional Applicable Definitions
Unwelcome Behavior

Unwelcome behavior is an action that is not solicited or invited and is undesirable or offensive to the recipient.  Behavior that is perceived to be voluntary does not necessarily mean that it is welcome.  Power relationships, incapacitation, intimidation and/or fear of consequences may be contributing factors in this determination.

Consent and Incapacitation
Consent is the equal approval, given freely, willingly, and knowingly, of each participant to desired sexual involvement.  Consent is an affirmative, conscious decision – indicated clearly by words or actions – to engage in mutually accepted sexual contact.  A person forced to engage in sexual contact by force, threat of force, or coercion has not consented to contact. 

  • Lack of mutual consent is the crucial factor in any sexual misconduct matter.
  • Consent to some form of sexual activity does not necessarily constitute consent to another form of sexual activity. 
  • Consent to past sexual activity does not imply consent to future sexual activity.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
  • Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.
  • Silence without demonstrating permission does not constitute consent. 
  • Consent CANNOT be given if a person's ability to resist or consent is incapacitated because of a mental illness  or physical condition or if there is a significant age or perceived power differential.
  • Sexual activity with someone who the respondent should know to be, or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be, mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drugs, unconsciousness, sleep, or blackout) is sexual activity without consent.
Incapacitation is a state in which someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because the person lacks the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).  Examples include, but are not limited to, being:
  1. unconscious,
  2. asleep
  3. frightened,
  4. physically or psychologically pressured or forced,
  5. intimidated,
  6. incapacitated because of a psychological or intellectual health condition or disability,
  7. incapacitated because of voluntary intoxication due to use of drugs or alcohol, or
  8. incapacitated because of the deceptive administering of any drug, intoxicant or controlled substance.
Coercion
Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity.

Force
Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent.