“Hostile environment” means a situation where an individual is subjected to any conduct based on the reasons set forth in Section 4.3.1 and that conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive, or so objectively offensive, so as to unreasonably interfere with an individual’s educational experience, work or academic performance or deny or limit the individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities.
A hostile environment can be created by anyone involved in a University program or activity (e.g., administrators, faculty members, students, and even campus guests). 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, even if isolated, can be sufficient to create a hostile environment. In determining whether harassment has created a hostile environment, consideration will be made 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 sufficiently severe or pervasive, or objectively offensive.
“Sexual harassment” means harassment that creates a hostile environment based on sex, as defined above, and also unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature on or off campus that is sufficiently severe or pervasive when (i) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or academic performance or participation in University programs or activities; or (ii) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement. In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment, consideration shall be given to the record as a whole and to the totality of the circumstances, including the nature of sexual behavior and the context in which the alleged incident(s) occurred.