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Sexual harassment and assault defined

Sexual misconduct includes two forms, harassment and assault. Harassment is unwelcome conduct so severe it denies someone equal access to a service, while assault includes contact by force, or a situation where a person cannot give consent.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Under Title IX, sexual harassment is defined as conduct on the basis of sex that constitutes unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity.

Examples:

  • A student or staff member is led to believe that he/she must submit to unwelcome sexual conduct/communication in order to gain something in return, such as a grade, a promotion, or a place on a team (Quid Pro Quo); or,

  • The conduct substantially interferes with a student’s educational performance or creates a hostile environment

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault (sexual violence) is any unwanted, non-consensual sexual contact by force or when a person cannot give consent (underage, developmentally disabled, mentally/physically unable to consent). This includes the following types of sexual violence:

  • Rape

  • Sexual assault

  • Sexual battery

  • Sexual abuse

  • Sexual coercion