Definitions of Sexual Misconduct and Harassment | Mercy College

Definitions of Sexual Misconduct and Harassment

The College’s prohibition against sexual misconduct (encompassing a wide range of behaviors including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking) applies to all students, employees, third-party vendors on campus and visitors or guests on campus, to the extent that there is an allegation of harassment or discrimination made by them against College students or employees.
 
Such prohibition extends to off campus conduct or the online/virtual environment if the conduct is in connection with College operations or a College-sponsored program and poses an obvious and serious threat of harm to students and employees, or may have the effect of creating a hostile work and/or educational environment.
 
The following definitions are taken from the federal government’s Not Alone website and other federal sources (e.g., U.S. Department of Justice).

The term used for an individual who files a complaint under the College’s grievance procedures or an individual or organization filing a complaint with the U.S. Departments of Education or Justice. View more information about filing a complaint/reporting.

Consent must be informed, voluntary, and mutual, and can be withdrawn at any time. There is no consent where there is force, expressed or implied, or when coercion, intimidation, threats or duress is used. Whether a person has taken advantage of a position of influence over another person may be a factor in determining consent. Silence or absence of resistance does not imply ongoing future consent with that person or consent to that same sexual activity with another person. Past consent does not imply future consent.

If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that such person cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes impairment or incapacitation due to alcohol or drug consumption that meets this standard, or being asleep or unconscious.

A pattern of abusive behavior that is used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.

Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the survivor, and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

  • The length of the relationship,
  • The type of relationship, and
  • The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Gender-based harassment is unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on a student’s actual or perceived sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes.

Exists when sex-based harassment is sufficiently serious to deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s programs or activities. A hostile environment can be created by anyone involved in a College program or activity including administrators, faculty, staff, students, and campus visitors.

The lack of physical or mental ability to make informed, rational judgments. Examples of incapacitation include unconsciousness, sleep, and blackouts.

Unlawful act of intentionally coercing or frightening someone to do (or to not do) something against his or her will.

To find an individual in violation of sexual misconduct only a preponderance of evidence standard needs to exist. This means it is “more likely than not” that the violation occurred and is less strict than “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”. The evidence does not have to be “clear and convincing.” View more information about filing a complaint/reporting.

The party against whom an appeal, motion, or allegation has been made. View more information about filing a complaint/reporting.

Retaliation is defined as no person or other persons shall intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege, or because he/she has made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing. View more information about filing a complaint/reporting.

Actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to:

  • Intentional touching of another person’s intimate parts without that person’s consent;
  • Other intentional sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent;
  • 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 sex organ of another person, without that person’s consent.

When a person takes sexual advantage of another person for the benefit of anyone other than that person without that person’s consent. Example of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation included, but is not limited to:

  • Prostituting another person;
  • Recording images or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness without that person’s consent;
  • Distributing images or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, if the individual distributing the images or audio knows or should have known that the person depicted in the images or audio did not consent to such disclosure and objects to such disclosure; and,
  • Viewing another person’ sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s consent, and for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.

Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including but not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or nonverbal conduct of a sexual nature, including rape, sexual assault and sexual exploitation. In addition, depending on the facts, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking may also be forms of sexual harassment.

Any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the survivor, including instances where the survivor is incapable of giving consent.

Rape: The 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 the consent of the survivor.

Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the survivor, including instances where the survivor is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.

Incest: Nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

Statutory Rape: Nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

Note: Sex Offenses are criminalized under Ohio Revised Code as follows - Rape (ORC 2907.02); Sexual Battery (ORC 2907.03); Gross Sexual Imposition (ORC 2907.05); Sexual Imposition (ORC 2907.06); Unlawful Sex with a Minor (ORC 2907.04)

A pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.