Definitions

What is sex discrimination?

What is sexual harassment?

What is a hostile environment?

What is sexual violence?

What is consent?

What is domestic/dating violence?

What is stalking?

Who are Responsible Employees?

Who are Confidential Employees?

Who are Campus Security Authorities?

What is Sex Discrimination?

Sex discrimination is any action that adversely affects the employment or educational opportunities of a person due to his or her sex. This includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, in sports, in scholarship programs, and in decisions or actions at all operational levels on campus. Sex discrimination also encompasses harassment of an individual on the basis of sex.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment encompasses any sexual attention that is unwanted. Sexual harassment can be verbal, visual, or physical. It can range from repeated unwelcome sexual flirtation and inappropriate, gender-based, put-downs of individuals or groups of people to physical abuse, such as sexual assault or rape. Whether particular verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct constitutes harassment in violation of this policy will depend upon all the circumstances, the context in which the conduct occurs, and the frequency, severity, and pattern of the conduct.

The University recognizes that even the possibility of harassment is destructive to individuals, to groups and to the community. While sexual harassment most often takes place in situations where there is a power differential between the persons involved, the University recognizes that sexual harassment may occur between persons of the same status. Sexual harassment may also occur between persons of the same sex. Sexual harassment contaminates teacher/student and supervisor/subordinate relationships as well as those among student peers and faculty or staff colleagues. When, through fear of reprisal, a student, staff member, or faculty member submits, or is pressured to submit, to unwanted sexual attention, the entire community is undermined.

The University will not tolerate behavior among members of the community which creates an unacceptable working or educational environment, and it will initiate appropriate sanctions against the offender, if the allegations are believed to be true.

What is a Hostile Environment?

Hostile environment: when such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning employment or educational environment. A cause of action is established if the complained-of-conduct would not have occurred but for the student or employee's gender, and it was severe or pervasive enough to make a reasonable person of the same sex believe that the conditions of learning and/or employment are altered and the environment is hostile or abusive.

What is Sexual Violence?

As defined under the University’s Domestic/Dating Violence, Stalking and Sexual Violence Policy, sexual violence takes many forms including attacks such as sexual assault or attempted sexual assault, as well as any unwanted sexual contact or threats.

There are three (3) categories of sexual violence and they are as follows:

  • Sexual assault occurs when one person penetrates the other by any means, whether vaginally, anally or orally without the consent of the other person. 
  • Sexual contact occurs when one person touches the intimate parts of another person's body, even through clothes, without that person's consent. That impermissible touching can be either for the perpetrator to obtain sexual gratification or to degrade or humiliate the other person or to obtain power and control over the other person.
  • Lewdness involves the perpetrator exposing his/her intimate parts without a person’s consent to obtain sexual gratification or to degrade or humiliate the other person or to obtain power and control over the other person.

What is Consent?

Consent in the Domestic/Dating Violence, Stalking and Sexual Violence Policy means a clear YES to the specific act in question. Consent is informed, knowing, and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable permission regarding the conditions of sexual activity. Consent to one form of sexual activity cannot imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Previous relationships or consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts. Consent must be present throughout the sexual activity -- at any time, a participant can communicate that he or she no longer consents to continuing the activity. If there is confusion as to whether anyone has consented or continues to consent to sexual activity, it is essential that the participants stop the activity until the confusion can be clearly resolved. Consent cannot be procured by use of physical force, compelling threats, intimidating behavior, or coercion. Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity.

Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive. In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age. If you have sexual activity with someone you know to be—or should know to be—mentally or physically incapacitated by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness, or blackout, you are in violation of this policy. Incapacitation is a state where one cannot make a rational, reasonable decision because they lack the ability to understand the who, what, when, where, why, or how of their sexual interaction. This policy also covers someone whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of a so-called "date-rape" drug. Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketomine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student for the purpose of inducing incapacity is a violation of University policy. 

What is Domestic/Dating Violence?

Pursuant to University policy, domestic/dating violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior that is used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other intimate partner. It can be committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. It can also be committed by one roommate over another.

Domestic/dating violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, wound someone, or destroy someone’s property.

  • Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc. are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner or roommate medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.
  • Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner (more about this in the Sexual Violence section found in the full policy).
  • Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.
  • Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one's access to money, or forbidding one's attendance at school or employment.
  • Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include, but are not limited to, causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner's family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.

What is Stalking?

Pursuant to University policy, stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her/his safety, fear the safety of another person, or suffer other emotional distress.

Course of conduct is defined as:

  • repeatedly maintaining a visual or physical proximity to a person; directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, following, monitoring, observing, surveilling, threatening or communicating to or about, a person; OR
  • interfering with a person’s property; repeatedly committing harassment against a person; OR
  • repeatedly conveying, or causing to be conveyed, verbal or written threats or threats conveyed by any other means of communication or threats implied by conduct or a combination thereof directed at or toward a person.
  • Stalking includes any behaviors or activities occurring on at least two occasions that collectively instill fear in a victim, and/or threaten her/ his safety, physical health, or cause other severe mental suffering or distress. Such behaviors and activities may include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Non-consensual communication, including face-to-face communication, telephone calls, voice messages, e-mails, text messages, written letters, gifts, or any other communications that are undesired and place another person in fear;
    • Use of online, electronic, or digital technologies, including: posting of pictures or Information in chat rooms or on websites; sending unwanted/unsolicited email or talk requests; posting private or public messages on Internet sites, social networking sites, and/or school bulletin boards; installing spyware on a victim’s computer; using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to monitor a victim;
    • Pursuing, following, waiting, or showing up uninvited at or near a residence, workplace, classroom, or other places frequented by the victim;
    • Surveillance or other types of observation including staring, “peeping”;
    • Trespassing;
    • Vandalism;
    • Non-consensual touching;
    • Direct verbal or physical threats;
    • Gathering information about an individual from friends, family, and/or co-workers;
    • Threats to harm self or others;

If a person is repeatedly attempting to communicate with you by any means, in a threatening or harassing manner, you are encouraged to report it to University Police.

Who are Responsible Employees?

With the exception of confidential employees, all faculty, staff and administrators are “Responsible Employees” and therefore, must report allegations of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence to the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate school designee.

Who are Confidential Employees?

Confidential Employees are the Campus Victim Services Coordinator, Women’s Center staff, and Counseling Health and Wellness staff. These employees are exempt from any Title IX reporting obligation; however, they can assist with available resources depending upon the circumstances.

Who are Campus Security Authorities?

Campus Security Authorities are defined as officials of an institution who have significant responsibility for student and campus activities, including, but not limited to, student housing, student discipline and campus judicial proceedings. Some examples of Campus Security Authorities include but are not limited to, University Police, Office of Residence Life, Office of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution, Office of Campus Activities, Services and Leadership. Campus Security Authorities are also obligated to report allegations under the Jeanne Clery Act that are made in good faith (this can include sexual violence allegations). It is possible for an individual to be both a responsible employee and a campus security authority. If an individual is confused about whether he/she is a responsible employee, CSA, or both, please contact the Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee.