Definitions of Sexual Misconduct

As of March 16, 2020, the Title IX Office is working remotely but is available by phone and video conferencing to respond to student needs. Please email if you have questions, concerns or to set up an appointment.

Sexual/Gender-Based Harassment

Sexual or gender-based harassment is a form of discrimination that includes verbal, written, or physical behavior, directed at someone, or against a particular group, because of that person’s or group’s sex, gender identity, actual or perceived sexual orientation, or based on gender stereotypes, when that behavior is unwelcome and meets either of the following criteria:

  1. Submission or consent to the behavior is reasonably believed to carry consequences, positive or negative, for the individual’s education, employment, University living environment, or participation in a University activity or program. Examples of this type of sexual harassment include:
    • a. Pressuring an individual to engage in sexual behavior for some educational or employment benefit, or
    • Making a threat or perceived threat that rejecting sexual behavior will carry a negative consequence for the individual.
  2. The behavior has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the individual’s work or educational performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning environment for employment, education, University living, or participation in a University activity or program. Examples of this type of sexual harassment include:
    • Unwelcome efforts to develop a romantic or sexual relationship;
    • Unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors;
    • Unwelcome commentary about an individual’s body or sexual activities;
    • Unwelcome sexually-oriented teasing, joking or flirting
    • Unwelcome back/shoulder massages; and
    • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature.

Behaviors or communications may be verbal or nonverbal, written, or electronic. Such conduct does not need to be directed at or to a specific individual in order to constitute sexual harassment, but may consist of generalized unwelcome and inappropriate behaviors or communications based on sex, gender identity, actual or perceived sexual orientation, or gender stereotypes.

Determination of whether alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment requires
consideration of all the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.


Sexual Assault

1. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is defined as intentional touching of another person’s clothed or unclothed body, including, but not limited to, the mouth, neck, buttocks, anus, genitalia, or breast, by another with any part of the body or any object in a sexual manner. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact also includes causing another person to touch their own or another’s body in the manner described in this definition.

Sexual assault is a form of Non-Consensual Sexual Contact that involves having or attempting to have sexual contact with another person without consent.

2. Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration

Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration is defined as penetration (anal, oral or vaginal), however slight, with any body part or any object, by a person upon another person, without effective consent. This includes vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact).

3. Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation is defined as taking non-consensual, unjust, or abusive sexual advantage of another, for one’s own advantage or benefit; or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the person being exploited. Sexual exploitation encompasses a wide range of behaviors including, but not limited to:

  • Inducing incapacitation with the intent to rape or sexually assault another student;
  • Non-consensual video or audio-recording of sexual activity;
  • Allowing others to observe a personal act of consensual sex without knowledge or consent of the partner;
  • Engaging in Peeping Tommery (voyeurism);
  • Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease, including HIV, to another student;
  • Prostituting another student (i.e. – personally gaining money, privilege, or power from the sexual activities of another student); or
  • Indecent Exposure (willfully exposing one’s genitals in any public place, and in the presence of another person).

Stalking or Cyberstalking

Stalking or cyberstalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct (at least two acts) directed at a specific person (in person, through third parties or through electronic means) that would cause a reasonable person to:

  1. Fear for the individual’s safety or the safety of others; or
  2. Suffer substantial emotional distress.

Relationship Violence

Relationship Violence (Domestic or Dating Violence) is defined as:

  1. attempting to cause bodily injury;
  2. intentionally causing bodily injury; or
  3. placing the aggrieved person or a member of the aggrieved person’s family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment that rises to the level to cause a reasonable person substantial emotional distress.

Relationship Violence is commonly referred to as dating violence or domestic violence, and occurs between persons who have been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with each other. The existence of such a relationship is determined by considering the following factors:

  1. the length of the relationship;
  2. the type of relationship; and
  3. the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.