Educational Equity and Inclusion: Sexual Misconduct

Relevant excerpt

By definition, sexual harassment is:

  • unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is,
  • sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it,
  • unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program and/or activities

Most of us are familiar with the general concept of sexual harassment, yet conduct constituting harassment can include a wide range of behavior. Inappropriate touching, comments, gestures, or other behaviors that reasonably make another individual uncomfortable enough to interfere with their ability to fully participate in their educational program or unemployment constitute sexual harassment when a part of a pattern of conduct meeting the definition set forth above. Other examples that are punishable when they meet the above harassment standard include attempts to: coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; repeatedly subject a person to inappropriate, unwelcome sexual attention; punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request; or condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances. The key notion is not what you intend – it’s about the interpretation of the victim, as well as the interpretation of a reasonable person in that victim’s position.

A. Hostile Environment includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, and 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.

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