Sexual Harassment definition in the Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy: Engaging in conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- An employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (i.e., quid pro quo);
- Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe and pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to an education program or activity (i.e., hostile environment); or
- Sexual assault (as defined in the Clery Act), dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Sexual Harassment definition in the Harassment and Discrimination Policy: Harassment and discrimination against individuals in protected classes can take many forms. It can include verbal or physical conduct, name-calling, slurs, comments, rumors, jokes, innuendos, unwelcome compliments or touching, cartoons, pranks, graphic and written statements, communications via cell phones or the internet, or other conduct which may be physically or emotionally threatening, harmful or humiliating. Generally, physical and verbal conduct is considered harassment when it meets one or more of the following criteria:
- Submission to the undesirable conduct or communication is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of one’s employment or academic status, or
- Submission to or rejection of the conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting the individual’s employment or education, or
- The conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or education, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or academic environment, and
- The conduct or communication would not have occurred but for the protected category of the individual(s) or group to whom it is directed or who are affected by it.
Sexual harassment is objectionable verbal or physical conduct which is gender-based or sexual in nature. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical or verbal conduct may be sexual harassment. Other behavior which is not sexual in nature but is motivated by a person’s sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation may also be sexual harassment. Sexual harassment may include sexual misconduct and sexual violence. A single isolated incident of sexual harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. Under this policy, the more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to provide a hostile environment. Sexual misconduct and sexual violence can include, but is not limited to, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, harassment and stalking. Sexual harassment also includes gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility based on gender or gender-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
Related to Attempted or Actual Penetrations: Engaging, or attempting to engage in penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus, with any body part of object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of that victim. Such sexual assault may be also be nonforcible, but still prohibited, if it occurs with a person who is under the statutory age of consent or between persons who are related to each other within the degrees of marriage wherein prohibited by law.
Related to Fondling and Other Forms of Sexual Contact: The touching or attempted touching of the private body part of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person’s consent; or not forcibly or against the person’s consent where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
Consent occurs when the parties exchange affirmative words, actions, or behavior indicating their agreement to freely participate in mutual sexual activity. Consent must be informed, knowing and voluntary, and freely and actively given. As a general rule, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if she/he cannot appreciate the "who, what, when, where, why and how" of a sexual interaction. The following further clarifies the definition of consent:
- Each participant in a sexual encounter is expected to obtain and give consent to each act of sexual activity.
- If at any time it is reasonably apparent either party is hesitant, confused or unsure, both parties should stop and obtain mutual verbal consent before continuing such activity.
- Consent may be withdrawn by either party at any time. Withdrawal of consent must also be outwardly demonstrated by words or actions which clearly indicate a desire to end sexual activity. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed, sexual activity must cease.
- Relying on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstandings. Consent should not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of an active response alone. A person who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent.
- Individuals with a previous or current intimate relationship do not automatically give either initial or continued consent to sexual activity.
- An individual who is physically incapacitated from alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntarily or involuntarily), or is unconscious, unaware or otherwise physically helpless is considered unable to give consent. For example, one who is asleep or passed out cannot give consent.
- An individual in a blackout state may appear to act normally but may not have later recall of the events in question. The extent to which a person in this state affirmatively gives words or actions indicating a willingness to engage in sexual activity and the other person is unaware – or reasonably could not have known – of the alcohol consumption or blackout, must be evaluated in determining whether consent could be considered as having been given.
- Alcohol and other drugs impair a person’s decision-making capacity, awareness of the consequences and ability to make judgments, and can create an atmosphere of confusion over whether consent has been freely and clearly sought or given.
- Being intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol is never an excuse for sexual harassment, discrimination, and/or sexual misconduct and does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.