INTERIM SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY

V. PROHIBITED CONDUCT

Members of the Colleges’ community who engage in prohibited conduct will be subject to sanctions as discussed in Section XII(E)(8). Prohibited conduct includes all sexually-related conduct prohibited by state or federal law and the following:

Sexual Harassment

Any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

(1) submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment, evaluation of academic work or participation in any aspect of a Colleges’ program or activity; or
(2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting the individual; or
(3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance, i.e., it is sufficiently serious, pervasive or persistent as to create an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, demeaning or sexually offensive working, academic, residential or social environment under both a subjective and objective standard.

A single isolated incident of sexual harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to create a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical. The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” must be based on all the circumstances. These circumstances could include, but are not limited to:

  • the frequency of the speech or conduct;
  • the nature and severity of the speech or conduct;
  • whether the conduct was physically threatening;
  • whether the speech or conduct was humiliating;
  • the effect of the speech or conduct on the complainant’s mental and/or emotional state;
  • whether the speech or conduct was directed at more than one person;
  • whether the speech or conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
  • whether the speech or conduct unreasonably interfered with the complainant’s educational opportunities or performance (including study abroad), university-controlled living environment, work opportunities, or performance;
  • whether a statement is a mere utterance of an epithet which engenders offense in an employee or a student or offends by mere discourtesy or rudeness; and/or
  • whether the speech or conduct deserves the protections of academic freedom

Sexual harassment also includes gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility based on sex or sex- or gender-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual harassment:

  • May be blatant and intentional and involve an overt action, a threat or reprisal, or may be subtle and indirect, with a coercive aspect that is unstated.
  • Does NOT have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target or involve repeated incidents.
  • May be committed by anyone, regardless of gender, age, position, or authority. While there is often a power differential between two persons, perhaps due to differences in age, social, educational or employment relationships, harassment can occur in any context.
  • May be committed by a stranger, an acquaintance or someone with whom the Complainant has an intimate or sexual relationship.
  • May be committed by or against an individual or may be a result of the actions of an organization or group.
  • May occur by or against an individual of any sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
  • May occur in the classroom, in the workplace, in residential settings, or in any other setting.
  • May be a one-time event or can be part of a pattern of behavior.
  • May be committed in the presence of others or when the parties are alone.
  • May affect the Complainant and/or third parties who witness or observe harassment and are affected by it.

Examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment as defined above may include a severe, persistent or pervasive pattern of unwelcome conduct that includes one or more of the following:

  • Physical conduct:
    • unwelcome touching, sexual/physical assault, impeding, restraining or blocking movements
    • unwanted sexual advances
  • Verbal conduct:
    • making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or humor, not pedagogically appropriate
    • verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual's body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, suggestive or obscene letters, notes or invitations, not pedagogically appropriate
    • objectively offensive comments of a sexual nature, including persistent or pervasive sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes, which a reasonable peer would find offensive and which are not pedagogically appropriate
  • Visual conduct:
    • leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of suggestive objects or pictures, cartoon or posters in a public space or forum, not pedagogically appropriate
    • severe, persistent or pervasive visual displays of suggestive, erotic or degrading sexually oriented images, not pedagogically appropriate
  • Written conduct: letters, notes or electronic communications containing comments, words or images described above, not pedagogically appropriate
  • Quid pro quo conduct:
    • direct propositions of a sexual nature between those for whom a power imbalance or supervisory or other authority relationship exists
    • offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors
    • making submission to sexual advances an actual or implied condition of employment, work status, promotion, grades or letters of recommendation, including subtle pressure for sexual activity, an element of which may be repeated requests for private meetings with no academic or work purpose
    • making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances

Sexual Assault

Having or attempting to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact with another individual:

  • by force or threat of force;
  • without affirmative consent; or
  • where that individual is incapacitated.

Sexual intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with a body part (e.g., penis, tongue, finger, hand) or object, or oral penetration involving mouth to genital contact or with an object used in a sexual manner.

Sexual contact includes intentional contact with the intimate parts of another, causing another to come into contact with one’s intimate parts or disrobing or exposure of another without permission. Intimate parts may include the breasts, genitals, buttocks, groin, mouth or any other part of the body that is touched in a sexual manner.

Sexual Exploitation

When an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • surreptitiously observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
  • non-consensual sharing or streaming of images, photography, video or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
  • exposing one’s genitals or inducing another to expose their own genitals in non-consensual circumstances;
  • knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted disease or virus without his or her knowledge;
  • sexually-based stalking and/or bullying; and
  • inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.

Intimate Partner/Dating/Domestic/Relationship Violence

Intimate partner violence is also referred to as dating violence, domestic violence or relationship violence. Intimate partner violence includes any act of violence or threatened act of violence against a person who is, or has been involved in, a social relationship of a sexual, dating, domestic, or other intimate nature with the Respondent. Intimate partner violence can encompass a broad range of behavior including, but not limited to, physical violence, sexual violence, emotional violence, and economic abuse. It may involve one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior. Intimate partner violence may take the form of threats, assault, property damage, violence, or threat of violence to one’s self, one’s sexual or romantic partner or to the family members or friends of the sexual or romantic partner. Intimate partner violence affects individuals of all genders, gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientation and does not discriminate by racial, social, or economic background. The existence of the relationship shall be determined based on a victim’s statement with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of the relationship.

Domestic violence is violent crime committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner; a person sharing a child with the victim; and/or a person cohabitating with or who has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner.

The Colleges will not tolerate intimate partner violence of any form. For the purposes of this Policy, the Colleges do not define intimate partner violence as a distinct form of misconduct. Rather, the Colleges recognize that sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, harm to others, stalking, and retaliation all may be forms of intimate partner violence when committed by a person who is or has been involved in a sexual, dating or other social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant.

Under Clery and the Campus SaVE Act, the Colleges will record and report all relevant incidents of intimate partner violence.

Stalking

Stalking occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts toward another person, including following the person without proper authority, under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.

  • Course of conduct means two or more acts, including but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly or through third parties, by any action, method, device or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
  • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
  • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similarities to the victim.

Stalking includes the concept of cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the Internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts or other similar devices or forms of contact are used to pursue, harass or to make unwelcome contact with another person in an unsolicited fashion.

Examples of stalking include:

  • unwelcome and repeated visual or physical proximity to a person;
  • repeated oral or written threats;
  • extortion of money or valuables;
  • unwelcome/unsolicited written communication, including letters, cards, emails, instant messages, and messages on online bulletin boards;
  • unwelcome/unsolicited communications about a person, their family, friends, or co-workers; or
  • sending/posting unwelcome/unsolicited messages with an assumed identity; or
  • implicitly threatening physical contact; or
  • any combination of these behaviors directed toward an individual person.

Physical Assault

Physical assault is a purposeful action meant to hurt another person. Examples include, but are not limited to, kicking, punching, hitting with or throwing an object or biting. When these acts occur in the context of intimate partner violence or when the behavior is perpetrated on the basis of sex or gender, the conduct will be resolved under this Policy.

Harm to Others

Harm to others is words or types of conduct that threaten or endanger the health or safety of any person including physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, and/or harassment. This behavior is typically treated as a violation of the Colleges’ Community Standards. Acts that constitute harm to others and that are a form of intimate partner violence or are based on sex or gender will be resolved under this Policy.

Bullying and Intimidation

Anyone who attempts to use bullying or intimidation to retaliate against someone who reports an incident, brings a complaint, or participates in an investigation in an attempt to influence the resolution of a complaint under this Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy will be considered to have engaged in retaliation under this Policy and will be subject to disciplinary action.

Bullying includes any intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or a series of acts directed at another individual that is severe, persistent, or pervasive and that has the intended effect of doing any of the following:

  • substantially interfering with an individual’s education or employment;
  • creating a threatening environment; or
  • substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the Colleges.

Intimidation is any verbal, written, or electronic threats of violence or other threatening behavior directed toward another person or group that reasonably leads the person(s) in the group to fear for her/his physical well-being.

Indecent Exposure

A person commits indecent exposure if that individual exposes the individual’s genitals in any public place or in any place where there are present other persons under circumstances in which one knows or should know that this conduct is likely to offend, affront or alarm when the exposure is not pedagogically appropriate.

Retaliation

Acts or attempts to retaliate or seek retribution against the Complainant, Respondent or any individual or group of individuals involved in the complaint, investigation, and/or resolution of an allegation of sexual misconduct. Retaliation can be committed by any individual or group of individuals, not just a Respondent or Complainant. Retaliation can take many forms, including threats, intimidation, pressuring, continued abuse, violence or other forms of harm to others.

Actions are considered retaliatory if they are in response to a good faith disclosure of real or perceived misconduct and the actions have a materially adverse effect on the working, academic or Colleges-controlled living environment of an employee or student; or if the faculty, employee, or student can no longer effectively carry out his or her responsibilities.

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.