Definitions of Sexual Misconduct

For the purposes of this Sexual Misconduct Policy, the following definitions have the following meanings:

Sexual Misconduct Sexual Harassment Stalking ViolenceConsent Retaliation

Sexual Misconduct

“Sexual Misconduct” means any sexual harassment, stalking, or sexual violence, as those terms are defined below. Sexual misconduct can be committed by or against a man, a woman, or a group of people against a person or persons of the same or opposite sex.  Perpetrators of sexual misconduct can be friends, dating partners, domestic partners, spouses, acquaintances, classmates, supervisors, co-workers, faculty members, and/or any other person.

Sexual Harassment

“Sexual Harassment” under this policy includes verbal, non-verbal behaviors and gestures, and physical contact including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, non-forcible sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:

(a) Submission to that conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of obtaining employment or educational benefits or participating in academic or extracurricular activities; or

(b) Submission to or rejection of that conduct or communication is used as a factor in employment or academic decisions affecting that person; or

(c)  That conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person’s employment or education, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or educational environment.

Sexual harassment may often be the result of a pattern of behavior but one incident can constitute sexual harassment if it is sufficiently severe or offensive.  For purposes of this definition, communication may be oral, written, or electronically transmitted. Without limiting the foregoing, use of audio or visual equipment in violation of the University’s policy on such use may constitute sexual harassment. See the Community Standards (Section 9, The Student Handbook).


“Stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety, or the safety of another, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.  Stalking includes, but is not limited to, persistent attempts to contact the person by phone, electronic communication, or regular mail; vandalizing the person’s property or leaving unwanted items for the person; and/or following the person or constantly appearing at the person’s classroom, residence, or workplace without permission.

Sexual Violence

“Sexual Violence” means physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or without their consent. Examples of sexual violence include but are not limited to rape, sexual battery, any sexual activity induced by fear, coercion or manipulation, forcible sexual activities, and any sexual activity lacking consent, whether due to incapacity, impairment or otherwise. Although the term connotes violent physical harm, sexual violence occurs whenever a person engages in sexual activity against his or her will or without their consent, regardless of whether a violent attack or physical harm has occurred.  In this context, sexual violence also includes acts of physical violence committed by one person against another while in an existing or former dating, domestic partner or spousal relationship.  


“Consent” is permission, approval, or agreement to sexual activity through clear words or actions.  Silence or lack of resistance does not necessarily imply consent.  When a person consents to some sexual activity, this does not constitute consent to other forms of sexual activity; furthermore, the existence of a previous dating, marital, or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent to any subsequent sexual activity.  Consent must be given at the beginning of each and every sexual encounter and at each and every stage of intimacy.  Consent may be withdrawn at any time. 

It is not necessary for a person to physically resist, scream, say no, or otherwise express resistance to be the victim of sexual violence.  Even if someone verbally agrees to sexual activity, he or she shall be deemed incapable of providing consent if any of the following circumstances occur:

  • A person is subject to, or threatened with, physical force
  • A person is threatened, intimidated, coerced, isolated, or confined
  • A person is incapacitated due to the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • A person is a minor
  • A person is mentally disabled
  • A person is asleep, unconscious, or losing and regaining consciousness

A person’s own use of alcohol and/or alcohol does not relieve that person from obtaining proper consent.


“Retaliation” means to take adverse action against, intimidate, threaten, harass, or bully, either indirectly or directly, a person who reports, or is contemplating reporting, a violation of this policy or any individual involved in an ongoing investigation or adjudication of a sexual misconduct complaint. Additionally, knowingly and intentionally making a false report of a violation of this policy is, under some circumstances, considered retaliation.