Sexual Misconduct is a broad term encompassing a wide range of sex based offenses including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, forcible sex offenses such as rape, forcible fondling, nonconsensual contact and abuse and non-forcible sex offenses such as statutory rape and incest. Sexual misconduct is included in the general term sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is conduct that is sexual in nature, is unwelcome and denies or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from a school’s education program or activity. Harassment that is targeted at an individual because of his or her sex is also considered sexual harassment even if it does not involve sexual comments or conduct. For example, frequent, derogatory remarks about women or men could constitute unlawful harassment even if the remarks are not sexual in nature.

Types of Sexual Harassment

Quid Pro Quo
when something--a grade, a letter of recommendation, a job--is given or withheld on the basis of an individual’s response to a request for sexual favors
Hostile Environment
unwelcome conduct, based on sex (gender) or on gender stereotypes, which is so severe or pervasive it unreasonably interferes with a person’s College employment, academic performance or participation in College programs or activities AND creates a working, learning, program or activity environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive.

Examples of Sexual Harassment in Any Setting

  • Unwelcome or uninvited sexual comments or innuendo
  • Oral, written, or electronic communications that are sexually explicit in nature
  • Sexually explicit questions, jokes, or anecdotes about gender specific traits
  • Sexually suggestive sounds, gestures, gifts, or visual materials such as magazines, pictures, posters, photos, cartoons, or drawings
  • Direct or indirect threats concerning sexual favors or the refusal to consent to sexual favors
  • Sexual leering, uninvited touching, stroking, or gestures
  • Communication of unsought sexual propositions, requests for dates, sexual favors, or lewd remarks or sounds
  • Coerced sexual intercourse
  • Sexual assault or abuse (Common terms for acts of sexual violence include but are not limited to, rape, sexual assault, acquaintance rape and sexual battery)
  • Unwanted touching, sexual advances, spreading of sexual rumors
  • Offensive name calling, jokes, pictures, objects
  • Making sexual comments about appearance, clothing, or body parts
  • Inappropriate touching, including pinching, patting, rubbing, or purposefully brushing up against another person
  • Asking sexual questions, such as questions about someone's sexual history or their sexual orientation
  • Repeatedly following another knowing or having reason to know that the conduct causes the person followed to reasonably fear for his or her safety or suffer significant emotional distress

Some Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Classroom or Instructional Setting

  • Pattern of conduct that is not legitimately related to the subject matter of the course and causes discomfort or embarrassment for the student to the degree that it interferes with learning. Such conduct may include unwelcome or uninvited comments of a sexual nature, including jokes or anecdotes, touching, patting, hugging, brushing up against a person's body, and repeated or unwanted sexually oriented stares.
  • Remarks, jokes, comments, questions about sexual acts, experiences, or orientation in the classroom when such discussion is not reasonably and legitimately related to the subject matter of the course.
  • Display of inappropriate sexually oriented material, such as magazines, photographs or other visual items when such material is visible to others and unreasonably interferes with a person's learning, and is not legitimately related to the subject matter of the course.

The classroom or other instructional setting (e.g. studio, laboratory) presents special issues because academic freedom protects the expression of ideas, even where the idea or its expression is perceived to be offensive. Accordingly, if the complaint of conduct occurs in an instructional context, its investigation will be subject to very strict scrutiny.