Policy Definitions and General Terms

For the purpose of the Gender Equity, Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Policy and Procedure, the following definitions* apply:


Exists when a sexual initiator engages in sexually pressuring and/or oppressive behavior that violates norms of respect in the community, such that the application of such pressure or oppression is intended to coerce or actually causes the object of the behavior to engage in unwanted sexual behavior. Coercion may be differentiated from seduction by the repetition of the coercive activity beyond what is reasonable, the degree of pressure applied, environmental factors such as isolation, and the initiator's knowledge.

Dating Violence

Violence committed by a person (a) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, and (b) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

  1. The length of the relationship
  2. The type of relationship
  3. The frequency of the interaction between the persons involved in the relationship

Domestic Violence

Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.


The use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically, including threats, intimidation, and coercion that overcome resistance to produce consent.

Gender Discrimination

Under Title IX, gender discrimination occurs when an individual suffers an adverse consequence, such as failure to be hired or promoted, denial of admission to an academic program, lack of academic reward or advancement, etc. on the basis of their gender, sex, and/or gender identity/expression. Gender Discrimination also includes Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment as well as discrimination on the basis of parental, family or marital status or that excludes pregnant or parenting students from participation in educational activities.


Verbal or physical conduct based upon an individual's protected class status that unreasonably interferes with that individual's work or academic performance or creates an intimidating or hostile work or educational environment.

Intimate Partner Violence ("IPV")

Physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. IPV is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power or control over another intimate partner. IPV can vary in frequency and severity. It occurs on a continuum, ranging from one hit that may or may not impact the victim to chronic, severe battering.

Relationship Violence

Any violence that includes intimate partner violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual exploitation in a relationship context.


Any adverse action taken against a witness or complainant because they exercised their rights under anti-discrimination laws, spoke out against discrimination, or assisted someone in exercising their rights.

Sexual Assault, Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Any intentional sexual contact or touching, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person that is without consent and/or by force. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact includes intentional contact with the breast, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts or any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.

Sexual Assault, Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

Any sexual penetration (anal, oral or vaginal), however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person that is without consent and/or by force. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse includes vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.

Sexual Exploitation

When an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for that individual's own benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other Sexual Assault offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Invasion of sexual privacy,
  • Prostituting anyone,
  • Non-consensual photography, video- or audio-taping of nudity or sexual activity,
  • Unauthorized sharing or distribution of digital, video or audio recording of nudity or sexual activity,
  • Going beyond the boundaries of consent (i.e. allowing others to watch you having consensual sex without the knowledge and consent of your partner),
  • Engaging in voyeurism,
  • Knowingly exposing someone to or transmitting an STI, STD or HIV to another,
  • Intentionally or recklessly exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances,
  • Inducing another to expose their genitals;
  • Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying.

Sexual Harassment

Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, persistent, pervasive and objectively offensive that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, denying, or limiting a community member's ability to participate in or benefit from the University's educational programs and/or activities.

Sexual Harassment also includes conduct that creates a hostile environment and/or is based on power differentials or retaliation. Sexual Harassment is prohibited regardless of the gender, gender identity or sexual orientation of the harassed or the harasser. The determination of whether an environment is "hostile" must be based on the totality of the circumstances. These circumstances could include: the frequency of the conduct; the nature and severity of the conduct; whether the conduct was physically threatening; whether the conduct was humiliating; the effect of the conduct on the alleged victim's mental or emotional state; whether the conduct was directed at more than one person; whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct; whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the alleged victim's educational or work performance; and whether the statement is a mere utterance of an epithet with engenders offense in an employee or student, or offends by mere discourtesy or rudeness. Sexual Harassment may be in the form of a hostile environment that includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent, pervasive or objectively offensive that it alters the conditions of employment or limits, interferes with or denies educational benefits or opportunities, from both a subjective (the alleged victim's) and an objective (reasonable person's) viewpoint.

Sexual Harassment may also be in the form of "quid pro quo" when there are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature and submission to or rejection of such conduct results in adverse education or employment action.

Sexual Misconduct

Any and all acts, including but not limited to sexual harassment, gender discrimination, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual assault, sexual touching, sexual exploitation, and retaliation, prohibited under Title IX and The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).


Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would case a reasonable person to (a) fear for their safety or the safety of others, or (b) suffer substantial emotional distress.

*Please refer to the Gender Equity, Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Policy and Procedure for a complete list of policy terms and definitions.