Sexual Misconduct Policy - Sexual Harassment



Sexual Harassment

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

  • 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 College program or activity; or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting the individual; or
  • 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.

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 within the employment context

Verbal Conduct

  • Making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or humor
  • 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
  • Objectively offensive comments of a sexual nature, including persistent or pervasive sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes

Visual Conduct

  • Leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of suggestive objects or pictures, cartoon or posters in a public space or forum
  • Severe, persistent, or pervasive visual displays of suggestive, erotic, or degrading sexually oriented images that are not pedagogically appropriate

Written Conduct

  • Letters, notes or electronic communications containing comments, words, or images described above

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