Sexual misconduct is a broad, non-legal term that encompasses a wide range of behaviors, including but not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking. It is a violation of University policy, as well as applicable law, to commit or to attempt to commit these acts.
Sexual Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that has the effect of creating a hostile or stressful living, learning, or working environment, or whenever toleration of such conduct or rejection of it is the basis for an academic or employment decision affecting an individual. Conduct is considered unwelcome if the person did not request or invite it and considered the conduct to be undesirable or offensive.
Sexual harassment includes any conduct or incident that is sufficiently serious that it is likely to limit or deny a student's ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs or a faculty or staff member's ability to work, which may include a single incident of sexual assault or other serious sexual misconduct.
Sexual assault is actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual violence includes, but is not limited to:
- Intentional touching of another person's intimate parts without that person's consent; or
- Other intentional sexual contact with another person without that person's consent; or
- Coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force a person to touch another person's intimate parts without that person's consent; or
- Rape, which is penetration, no matter how slight, of (1) the vagina or anus of a person by any body part of another person or by an object, or (2) the mouth of a person by a sex organ of another person, without that person's consent.
Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate Partner Violence includes, but is not limited to: dating violence, domestic violence, and relationship violence, including any threat or act of violence against a person who is or has been involved in sexual dating, domestic or intimate relationship with another person. It may involve one act or an ongoing behavior. Behaviors include, but are not limited to: physical violence, sexual violence, emotional violence and/or economic abuse. Intimate Partner Violence may also include threats, assault, property damage, or violence or threat of violence to one’s self, one’s sexual or romantic partner, or to the family members or friends of the sexual or romantic partner. Intimate Partner Violence affects individuals of all genders, gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations and does not discriminate by racial, social, or economic background.
Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Course of conduct is defined as "a pattern of actions composed of more than one act over a period of time; however, evidencing a continuity of conduct." Stalking is a crime in Pennsylvania and is subject to criminal prosecution.
Stalking includes any behaviors or activities occurring on more than one occasion that collectively instills fear in a victim and/or threatens her or his safety, mental health, or physical health. Such behaviors and activities may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Non-consensual communication, including face-to-face communication, telephone calls, voice messages, emails, written letters, gifts, or any other communications that are undesired and place another person in fear; pursuing, following, waiting, or showing up uninvited at or near a residence, workplace, classroom, or other places frequented by the victim;
- Use of online, electronic, or digital technologies, including:
- Posting of pictures or information in chat rooms or on websites;
- Sending unwanted/unsolicited email or talk requests;
- Posting private or public messages on Internet sites, social networking sites, and/or school bulletin boards;
- Installing spyware on a victim's computer;
- Using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to monitor a victim.
- Surveillance or other types of observation, including staring or "peeping";
- Non-consensual touching;
- Direct verbal or physical threats;
- Gathering information about an individual from friends, family, and/or co-workers;
- Threats to harm self or others;
- Defamation – lying to others about the victim.
A hostile environment is created when harassment is severe or pervasive or persistent and unreasonably interferes with a person’s academic or work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive wwork oreducational environment.