Definition of Sexual Harassment
Harassment on the basis of sex is a violation of Sec. 703 of Title VII [of the 1964 Civil Rights Act]. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work [or academic or extracurricular] performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working [or educational] environment.
Further, sexual harassment may involve acts that are not themselves coercive but that create an environment that is hostile, offensive, or intimidating for an individual who has to work or study there. Such sexually harassing acts thus may affect not only the person who is their target, but also others in that setting who witness the acts.
The fact that someone did not intend to sexually harass another is generally not considered a defense to a complaint of sexual harassment. It is the effect and characteristics of the behavior that determine if the behavior constitutes sexual harassment. The College will consider charges of sexual harassment on a case-by-case basis. In determining whether conduct constitutes sexual harassment, the College will consider the facts of the incident or incidents as a whole, including the circumstances or context in which the incident(s) occurred.