Definition of Sexual Misconduct
The following defined acts are prohibited, regardless of the sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of the individuals involved.
"Sexual Misconduct" encompasses a broad range of behavior, from harassing statements to criminal sexual assault. It includes "Non-consensual Sexual Penetration," "Non-Consensual Sexual Contact," "Sexual Exploitation," and "Sexual Harassment."
Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration
"Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration" is defined as any sexual penetration no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without consent.
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
"Non-Consensual Sexual Contact" is defined as touching of intimate body parts such as genitalia, groin, breast, buttocks, or mouth or any clothing covering them, without consent; the removal of another person's clothes without consent; touching a person with one's own intimate body parts without consent; compelling another to touch one's intimate body parts without consent; or any other intentional sexual touching with any object by a person upon another person, without consent.
"Sexual Exploitation" occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another to benefit anyone other than the one being exploited. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to: engaging in voyeurism; electronic transmission of pornographic or other sexually inappropriate material; exposing one's genitals or breasts in non-consensual circumstances or inducing another to expose genitalia or breasts; and any other sexual activity that goes beyond the boundaries of consent, such as recording of sexual activity, allowing another person to observe sexual activity without the other person's consent, or engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with an STI or HIV without informing the other person of the infection.
“Sexual Harassment” is defined as conduct that has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with a person’s work or educational opportunity; and
- conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment or otherwise negatively affects a person’s work or educational opportunities; or
- the submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions affecting an individual’s employment, education, or participation in College Programs or Activities.
Sexual harassment denies an individual dignity and respect and may take on different forms. It includes, but is not limited to:
- Unwelcome verbal, written, or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of that individual’s gender or gender identity (or that of an individual’s relatives, friends, or associates);
- Unwelcome threats, derogatory comments, jokes, innuendos, insults, slurs, epithets, negative stereotyping, and other similar conduct that relates to gender or gender identity; or
- The placement, dissemination, or circulation on campus of any unwelcome written or graphic material (in hard copy or electronic form) that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of gender or gender identity.
Sexual Harassment may further include unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature where:
- Submission to or tolerance of such conduct is made either an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment or student admissions, enrollment, participation, and programming;
- Submission to or tolerance or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment or for academic, athletic, or other educational decisions affecting an individual;
- The conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work or academic, athletic, or other educational performance; or
- The conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.
If an individual has welcomed sexual advances or other harassing conduct (whether sexual or otherwise) by active participation in or encouragement of such activity, that individual should specifically inform the alleged harasser if such conduct is no longer welcome in order for any subsequent conduct to be deemed unwelcome. However, failure to give such notice in no way prevents the College from taking appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action against the alleged harasser for the behavior.
All relevant circumstances are examined as a part of a sexual harassment determination including, but not limited to, whether the conduct is verbal, physical, or electronic; the frequency of the conduct; the severity of the conduct; the relationship of the individuals involved; whether the conduct was physically or psychologically threatening or humiliating; whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with work performance (for employees) or academic performance (for students). Through this examination potential harassment is distinguished from behavior that may be disagreeable or uncomfortable, but, is protected by the College’s Constitution or is related to the appropriate facilitation of academic instruction and advising or the responsibilities of supervisors.
Relationship Abuse and Violence
"Relationship Abuse and Violence" encompasses a broad range of behavior, including, but not limited to, "domestic violence" and "dating violence." It includes acts of coercion, abuse, violence, or threats of violence between partners in a personal, intimate relationship. The coercive, abusive, violent, or threatening behaviors can be physical, sexual, psychological, verbal, and/or emotional. Relationship Abuse and Violence can occur between current or former intimate partners who have dated, cohabitated, or been married.
"Domestic Violence" is defined as a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by: a current or former spouse or intimate partner; a person with whom the individual shares a child in common; a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the individual as a spouse or intimate partner; a person similarly situated to a spouse of the individual under the domestic or family violence laws of North Carolina; or any other person against an adult or youth who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of North Carolina.
"Dating Violence" is defined as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the individual. It includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
"Stalking" is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: fear for the person's safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.
For purposes of this definition:
- "Course of conduct" means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property.
- "Reasonable person" means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the individual being stalked.
- "Substantial emotional distress" means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.