Offices

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct

For purposes of this policy, sexual misconduct offenses include, but are not limited to:

  1. Sexual Harassment
  2. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (or attempts to commit same)
  3. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempts to commit same)
  4. Sexual Exploitation

All forms of sexual misconduct can be committed by men or women and against other men or women.

Sexual Harassment 

By definition, sexual harassment is

  • unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is,
  • sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it,
  • unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational program and/or activities

It is important to note that harassment can occur in a variety of contexts, including face-to-face interactions, emails, and other forms of written communication, such as social media.

Examples of Harassment  

Most of us are familiar with the general concept of sexual harassment, yet the term has a wide range of meanings.  Thus, inappropriate touching, comments, gestures, or other behaviors that reasonably make another individual uncomfortable enough to interfere with their ability to participate in their educational program or unemployment constitutes sexual harassment. Sexual harassment has both an objective and subjective component. It is subjective in that the harassed person must find the unwanted conduct to be offensive, but it is objective in that the conduct must also be considered offensive by the average reasonable person in our society. 

Sexual Harassment, Retaliation, and Sexual Misconduct

A. Hostile Environment sexual harassment includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it alters the conditions of employment or limits, interferes with or denies educational benefits or opportunities, from both a subjective (the alleged victim’s) and an objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint.

B. Quid pro quo sexual harassment exists when there are:

1) unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature; and

2) submission to or rejection of such conduct results in an adverse educational or employment action.

Quid pro quo means “this for that.” Essentially, this type of sexual harassment occurs when an individual reasonably believes that consent to or rejection of an unwelcome request for sex would have consequences in their educational or employment status. A concrete example would be a supervisor who suggests to an employee that she might not get promoted if she does not have sex with the supervisor – or that the promotion possibility would be helped by agreeing to engage in sex.

C. Retaliation is any adverse employment or educational action taken against a person because of the person’s participation in a complaint or investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct. An example would be if a professor fails a student unfairly through retaliation because he was upset by the fact that the student brought forth a complaint of sexual harassment charge against him.

Non-Consensual Intentional Sexual Contact:

Non-Consensual Intentional Sexual Contact is any intentional sexual touching with any object, by any person upon another, without consent or by such force or duress so as to negate voluntary consent.

  • any intentional sexual touching,
  • however slight,
  • with any object,
  • by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman,
  • that is without consent or by such force or duress so as to negate voluntary consent.

Sexual Contact includes:

  • Intentional contact with another’s breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or
  • intentionally touching another with any of these body parts, or
  • making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts, or
  • any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is

  • any sexual intercourse
  • however slight,
  • with any object or body part,
  • by a man or woman upon a man or a woman,
  • that is without consent and/or by force so as to negate consent.

 

Intercourse involves two or more people and includes:

  • vaginal penetration by an object or body part of another, or
  • anal penetration by an object or body part of another, or
  • oral sex (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation occurs when a student or employee takes non-consensual sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit anyone other than the one being exploited without their consent. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, the following non-consensual actions:

  • Invasion of sexual privacy;
  • Forcing another to engage in prostitution;
  • Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity (including use of cell phones);
  • Positioning camera and taking photos/videos in such a way as to capture another person’s body revealing their exposed genitals or other sexual body parts;
  • Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
  • Engaging in voyeurism;
  • Knowingly transmitting an sexually transmitted infectious disease to another student;
  • Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances;
  • Forcing or intimidating another to expose their genitals;
  • Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation.

 

CRITICAL POINT: 

Consent :  Consent is clear, knowing, and voluntary.  Consent is active, not passive.  Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent.  Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in sexual activity.  Consent must be actively given for each sexual act. Consent can never be given by minors or by those who are mentally and/or physically incapacitated.