Boston University Lifebook: Sexual Misconduct Policy- Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct

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Sexual Harassment – Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that has the effect of creating a hostile or stressful living, learning, or working environment, or whenever toleration of such conduct or rejection of it is the basis for an academic or employment decision affecting an individual. Conduct is considered “unwelcome” if the person did not request or invite it and considered the conduct to be undesirable or offensive.

Sexual harassment includes any conduct or incident that is sufficiently serious that it is likely to limit or deny a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational program or activity or a faculty or staff member’s ability to work, which may include a single incident of sexual assault or other serious sexual misconduct.


The following non-exhaustive list includes examples of behavior that could be considered sexual harassment:

  • Unwelcome sexual innuendo, propositions, sexual attention, or suggestive comments and gestures.
  • Unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature, such as touching, hugging, kissing, patting, or pinching, that is uninvited and unwanted or unwelcome by the other person.
  • Humor and jokes about sex or gender-specific traits; sexual slurs or derogatory language directed at another person’s sexuality or gender.
  • Insults and threats based on sex or gender; and other oral, written, or electronic communications of a sexual nature that a person communicates are unwelcome.
  • Written graffiti or the display or distribution of sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials; sexually charged name-calling; sexual rumors or ratings of sexual activity/performance; the circulation, display, or creation of e-mails or Web sites of a sexual nature. (For more information on misconduct using the University’s computing facilities, please see the Conditions of Use and Policy on Computing Ethics.)
  • Non-academic display or circulation of written materials or pictures degrading to a person(s) or gender group.
  • Unwelcome attention, such as repeated inappropriate flirting, inappropriate or repetitive compliments about clothing or physical attributes, staring, or making sexually oriented gestures.
  • Change of academic or employment responsibilities (increase in difficulty or decrease of responsibility) based on sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
  • Use of a position of power or authority to: (i) threaten or punish, either directly or by implication, for refusing to tolerate harassment, for refusing to submit to sexual activity, or for reporting harassment; or (ii) promise rewards in return for sexual favors.
  • Acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping.

Hostile Environment

A hostile environment exists when sexual or sex-based harassment is sufficiently serious to deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs or activities ... In determining whether sex-based harassment has created a hostile environment, the University considers the conduct in question from both a subjective and objective perspective. ... To determine whether a hostile environment exists for a student or employee, the University will consider a variety of factors related to the severity, persistence, or pervasiveness of the sex-based harassment ...