Sexual Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual Violence, including Sexual Assault, is a form of Sexual Harassment. Sexual Harassment can involve persons of the same or opposite sex. Sexual Harassment can take one of the following two forms, both of which are prohibited by this policy:
2. When pervasive or egregious conduct based on sex, sexuality, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sexual Orientation creates a hostile environment. To constitute a hostile environment, the conduct must:
a) Be based on sex, sexuality, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sexual Orientation;
b) Be sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to deny or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from UIS’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities ; or
c) Have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment.
Mere offensiveness is not enough to create a hostile environment. Although repeated incidents increase the likelihood that harassment has created a hostile environment, a serious incident, such as a Sexual Assault, even if isolated, can be sufficient.
In determining whether harassment has created a hostile environment, consideration is given not only as to whether the conduct was unwelcome to the person who feels harassed, but also whether a reasonable person in a similar situation would have perceived the conduct as objectively offensive.