University Policies: Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence, Stalking and Retaliation

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Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including sexual assault and sexual violence. Sexual harassment, including sexual assault, can involve persons of the same or opposite sex. Consistent with the law, this policy prohibits two types of sexual harassment:

Hostile Environment: Sexual harassment that creates a hostile environment is based on sex and exists when the harassment:

1. Is severe, pervasive, or persistent, and objectively offensive such that it denies or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities; or
2. Unreasonably interferes with an individual’s academic or work performance.

A hostile environment can be created by anyone involved in a University program or activity, such as an administrator, faculty or staff member, student, or campus guest. Offensiveness alone is not enough to create a hostile environment. Although repeated incidents increase the likelihood that a hostile environment has been created, a single serious incident, such as a sexual assault, can be sufficient.

Determining whether conduct creates a hostile environment depends not only on 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. The following factors will also be considered:

1. The degree to which the conduct affected one or more students’ education or individual’s employment;
2. The nature, scope, frequency, duration, and location of the incident(s);
3. The identity, number, and relationships of persons involved;
4. The nature of higher education.

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