Policies and Procedures

The work undertaken by the Office of Title IX and Equal Opportunity adheres to two campuswide policies: the Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Interim Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy.

The Sexual Misconduct Policy (PDF) prohibits sexual and relationship violence, stalking, retaliation and sex or gender-based discrimination or harassment. The Interim Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy (PDF) prohibits discrimination or harassment motivated by an individual’s actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, age, marital or parental status (including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions), veteran status, sex, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or any other legally protected status.

Below you can learn more about the history and scope of each policy. When you file a complaint, you will be asked to record the type of alleged misconduct — this is simply your best guess. Please know that our office will work with you to better understand what misconduct might have occurred.

Title IX

Title IX is a federal civil rights law passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. This law protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. Title IX states that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Sexual Misconduct Policy

The Sexual Misconduct Policy is designed to comply with Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 and the regulations thereunder. The policy prohibits sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, relationship violence, gender-based discrimination and stalking. The process the College uses to address such conduct, including the investigation process, is detailed in the policy. 

The Office of Title IX and Equal Opportunity works with offices, groups, and committees across campus to increase awareness about compliance, including understanding when, how and why to report potential policy violations. Please see the Training, Education and Prevention page for information on how to request a training regarding the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Definitions Under the Sexual Misconduct Policy

Prohibited Conduct

The following are the definitions of conduct that are prohibited under the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy (“Prohibited Conduct”).

Any individual, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, can experience or commit a violation, and these behaviors can occur between people of the same or different genders or gender identities.

Sexual harassment consists of two basic types:

  • Quid Pro Quo Harassment: Any action in which submission to or rejection of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s education, grades, recommendations, extracurricular programs or activities, or employment opportunities.
  • Hostile Environment Based on Sex: Any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity.

In some cases, sexual harassment is obvious and may involve an overt action, a threat, or reprisal. In other instances, sexual harassment is subtle and indirect, with a coercive aspect that is unstated. Some examples include:

  • Sexual harassment can occur between persons of equal power status (e.g., student to student, staff to staff) or between persons of unequal power status (e.g., faculty member to student, coach to student-athlete). Although sexual harassment often occurs in the context of the misuse of power by the individual with the greater power, a person who appears to have less or equal power in a relationship can also commit sexual harassment. This includes, but is not limited to, use of a position of power or authority to: (1) threaten or punish, either directly or by implication, for refusing to tolerate harassment, for refusing to submit to sexual activity, or for reporting harassment, or (2) promise rewards in return for sexual favors.
  • Sexual harassment can be committed by or against an individual or by or against an organization or group.
  • Sexual harassment can be committed by an acquaintance, a stranger, or people who shared a personal, intimate, or sexual relationship.
  • Sexual harassment can occur by or against an individual of any sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.

Examples of behavior that might be considered sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • Unwanted sexual innuendo, propositions, sexual attention or suggestive comments and gestures; inappropriate humor about sex or gender-specific traits; sexual slurs or derogatory language directed at another person’s sexuality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or gender expression; insults and threats based on sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or gender expression; and other oral, written or electronic communications of a sexual nature that an individual communicates is unwanted and unwelcome.
  • Written graffiti or the display or distribution of sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written or electronic materials; sexually charged name-calling; or the circulation, display, or creation of emails, text or social media messages, or websites of a sexual nature.
  • Display or circulation of written or electronic materials or pictures degrading to an individual or gender group where such display is not directly related to academic freedom, or to an educational/pedagogical, artistic, or work purpose.
  • Unwelcome physical contact or suggestive body language, such as touching, patting, pinching, hugging, kissing, or brushing against an individual’s body.
  • Physical coercion or pressure of an individual to engage in sexual activity, or punishment for a refusal to respond or comply with sexual advances.

Sexual violence is any physical sexual act perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. 

Physical sexual acts include, but are not limited to, vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with a body part or object, or oral copulation by mouth-to-genital contact. This definition includes rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion and includes assault with the specific intention to commit such an act. Sexual violence may involve individuals who are known to one another or have an intimate and/or sexual relationship (relationship violence), or may involve individuals not known to one another. 

This conduct is often referred to as “sexual assault” under federal guidance.

Having or attempting to have sexual contact of any kind other than that defined as “sexual violence” with another individual without consent. Other inappropriate sexual contact may include kissing, touching, or making other inappropriate contact with the breasts, genitals, buttocks, mouth, or any other part of the body that is touched in a sexual manner and without permission. This conduct may also be referred to as “sexual assault” in certain circumstances.

Any act committed through non-consensual abuse or exploitation of another person’s sexuality for the purpose of sexual gratification, personal benefit or advantage or any other illegitimate purpose is considered sexual exploitation. 

Sexual exploitation may involve individuals who are known to one another, have an intimate or sexual relationship, or may involve individuals not known to one another. Examples include, but are not limited to, observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved, manipulating contraception or prophylaxis without the other party’s knowledge, procuring/stealing an individual’s undergarments without consent, and possession of illegal pornography. 

This form of misconduct may also be considered a form of sexual harassment or a form of sexual assault, depending upon the context. In certain circumstances, provided the parties are properly notified, the College also reserves the right to adjudicate sexual exploitation under the Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy if the College, in its sole discretion, is satisfied that the behavior does not rise to the level of constituting sexual harassment or sexual assault as defined in this Policy.

  • Inducing Incapacitation: This includes the provision of alcohol or drugs to an individual, with or without that individual’s knowledge, for the purpose of causing impairment or intoxication to allow another person to take advantage of that individual’s impairment or intoxication.
  • Media-Based Misconduct: Photographing or taping someone (via audio, video or otherwise) involved in sexual activity, or in a state of undress, without his, her, or their knowledge or consent. Even if a person consented to sexual activity, photographing or taping someone without his, her or their knowledge and agreement goes beyond the boundaries of that consent. Dissemination of photographs or video/audio of someone involved in sexual activity, or in a state of undress, without his, her, or their knowledge or consent constitutes a separate and additional act of sexual misconduct.
  • Aiding or Assisting: The aiding or assisting in the commission of an act(s) of sexual violence or sexual misconduct is prohibited.
  • Miscellaneous: The inappropriate behaviors listed above are not an exhaustive list. The College may consider any other conduct that has a sexual or gender-based connotation under the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Stalking is more than one instance of unwanted attention, harassment, physical or verbal contact, or any other course of conduct directed at an individual that could be reasonably regarded as likely to alarm or place that individual in fear of harm or injury, including physical, emotional, or psychological harm. 

This includes cyberstalking, a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, texts or other similar forms of contact are used to pursue, harass, or make unwelcome contact with another person. Stalking and cyberstalking may involve individuals who are known to one another or have an intimate or sexual relationship, or may involve individuals not known to one another. 

To the extent that the stalking behavior is based on sex, gender, and/or a prior sexual or amorous relationship between the parties, it may be addressed under this policy. If the stalking behavior is not based on any of those factors, or otherwise falls outside the requirements of this policy, the College reserves the right to address it through the Interim Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy.

Relationship violence is any intentionally violent or controlling behavior of one individual by a person who is currently or was previously in a relationship with that individual. 

Relationship violence may include actual or threatened physical injury, sexual violence, psychological or emotional abuse, and/or progressive social isolation. To the extent that the relationship violence behavior is based upon a prior sexual or amorous relationship between the parties, it may be addressed under this policy. 

If the relationship violence is not based on any of those factors, or otherwise falls outside the requirements of this policy, the College reserves the right to address it through the Interim Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy.

Acts or attempts to retaliate or seek retribution against a party, a witness, or any individual or group of individuals involved in the investigation and/or resolution of an allegation under this policy. 

This includes subjecting a person to an adverse action because they made a complaint under any portion of this policy, made a report, or responded to, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation under this policy. Retaliation may include continued abuse or violence and other forms of harassment.

Retaliation allegations may be consolidated with other forms of prohibited conduct defined in this section if the facts and circumstances significantly overlap. If the facts and circumstances do not significantly overlap, then the College retains discretion to adjudicate the allegation under the Interim Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy or other College policy or procedure. 

For example, if a respondent retaliates against a complainant with regard to the filing of a complaint, that behavior could be consolidated with the other prohibited conduct alleged, provided appropriate notice is afforded. On the other hand, if the retaliatory conduct is committed by one of the parties’ friend groups who are not otherwise subject to a grievance under this policy, that behavior could be adjudicated under the Interim Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy or other College policy or procedure which prohibits such behavior.

Additional Definitions 

The following are additional definitions used in this policy. 

As used in the above definitions of prohibited conduct, consent, coercion and incapacitation have the following meanings under this Policy.

Consent is the affirmative and willing agreement to engage in a specific form of sexual contact with another person who is capable of giving consent. Consent cannot be obtained: (a) through the use of coercion, or (b) by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another individual. Consent requires an outward demonstration, through mutually understandable words or actions, indicating that an individual has chosen freely to engage in a sexual contact. Sexual interactions must be consensual.

Coercion is defined for purposes of this section as the application of unreasonable pressure to take part in sexual activity or in any of the prohibited conduct listed in the Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Interim Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy. Unreasonable pressure can be exerted through physical or emotional force, intimidation, misuse of authority, tricks, deception, or outright threats. When someone makes it clear that he, she or they do not want to engage in sexual activity or does not want to go beyond a certain point of sexual interaction, continued unreasonable pressure beyond that point may be considered coercive.

Incapacitation. A person is considered to be incapacitated when a person is so impaired as to be incapable of requesting or inviting the conduct (and therefore conduct of a sexual nature is deemed unwelcome) provided that the respondent knew or reasonably should have known of the person’s impairment or incapacitation. The person may be impaired or incapacitated as a result of drugs or alcohol or for some other reason, such as sleep or unconsciousness. Some potential indicators of incapacitation are vomiting, slurred speech, disorientation, unsteady gait, loss of memory, extreme departure from typical behavior, significant decline in motor coordination, unfocused vision, lack of participation in the sexual activity, and intermittently appearing to fall asleep.

  • Silence, passivity, or the absence of resistance does not imply consent. Relying solely on non-verbal communication may result in confusion about whether there is effective consent. It is important not to make assumptions. If confusion or ambiguity arises during a sexual interaction, it is essential that each participant stops and verbally clarifies the other’s willingness to continue.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time. When consent is withdrawn, sexual activity must cease. Prior consent does not imply current or future consent; even in the context of an ongoing relationship, consent must be sought and freely given for each instance of sexual contact. An essential element of consent is that it be freely given.
  • In evaluating whether consent was given, consideration will be given to the totality of the facts and circumstances including, but not limited to, the extent to which an individual affirmatively uses words or actions indicating a willingness to engage in sexual contact, free from intimidation, fear, or coercion; whether a reasonable person in the position of the individual alleged to have committed the conduct would have understood such person’s words and acts as an expression of consent; whether the person alleged to have committed the conduct knew or reasonably should have known that the other person was incapacitated or otherwise incapable of providing effective consent; and whether there are any additional circumstances, known or reasonably apparent to the individual alleged to have committed the conduct, demonstrating incapacitation, fear, or lack of consent.

A person who, at the time they file a formal complaint, is currently participating in, or attempting to participate in, the College’s domestic educational programs or activities and who alleges they experienced prohibited conduct under this policy. If an individual is a student or employee at another institution and makes an allegation against an individual who is a student or employee at the College, the Title IX Coordinator may exercise discretion in signing a complaint for the aggrieved party. In such situations, the parties will be duly noticed in accord with the policy and the College will not be considered a party to the matter, though it will maintain the burden of proving that any individual violated a College policy.

A person alleged to have taken part in conduct that could violate a form of prohibited conduct under this policy or any other form of conduct consolidated into the process set forth in this policy. When the complainant and the respondent are discussed collectively, they will be referred to as the “parties” and may be referred to as a “party.”

Process for Investigation and Resolution of Sexual Misconduct Policy Complaints

Learn more about the Process for investigation and resolution of Sexual Misconduct Policy complaints (PDF).

Seeking Supportive Measures

A respondent or complainant in a Title IX matter may request academic, living, transportation or other adjustments to their daily schedules in order to better provide an environment of safety and support. 

Learn more about supportive measures

Clery Reporting

Information contained within the Annual Security and Fire Safety Reports is provided as part of the College's commitment to safety and security on campus, and is in compliance with Title II of Public Law 101-543: The Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990.

View the annual report on the Department of Public Safety website

Equal Opportunity

The College of the Holy Cross rejects and condemns all forms of harassment, wrongful discrimination, retaliation and disrespect and is committed to sustaining a welcoming environment for everyone and especially those vulnerable to discrimination on the basis of a person’s race, religion, color, national origin, age, marital or parental status (including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions), veteran status, sex, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other legally protected status, while reserving its right where permitted by law to take action designed to promote its Jesuit and Catholic mission. 

It is the policy of the College to adhere to all applicable state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination and discriminatory harassment. The College does not discriminate unlawfully in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment, in its programs and activities on the basis of a person’s race, religion, color, national origin, age, marital or parental status (including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions), veteran status, sex, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or any other legally protected status, while reserving its right where permitted by law to take action designed to promote its Jesuit and Catholic mission. 

Unlawful discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and retaliation are prohibited and will not be tolerated at the College. Such behavior violates this policy and/or the Sexual Misconduct Policy and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination or dismissal from the College. 

Interim Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy (PDF)

Definitions Under the Interim Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy

The following are the definitions of conduct that is prohibited under this policy, together with certain other definitions used in the policy. If you have any questions about a definition or application of any of these terms or the policy in general, please contact the director of Equal Opportunity. 

Important note: Alleged conduct that falls within any definition with an asterisk (*) will be reviewed by the director of Equal Opportunity for determination of whether such alleged conduct is required to be addressed pursuant to the Sexual Misconduct Policy in lieu of this policy. The decision regarding the applicability of this policy or the Sexual Misconduct Policy will be made in the sole discretion of the director of Equal Opportunity.

Discrimination is an intentional or unintentional act that adversely affects employment and/or educational opportunities because of a person’s race, religion, color, national origin, age, marital or parental status (including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions), veteran status, sex, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or any other legally protected status. 

Discrimination may be classified as either disparate impact (facially neutral practices that fall more harshly on one group than another and cannot be justified by business necessity) or disparate treatment (treatment of an individual that is less favorable than treatment of others based upon discriminatory reasons unless based upon legitimate lawful exceptions (such as bona fide occupational qualifications or the ability to maintain separate sports teams). In addition, discrimination is also prohibited against individuals who associate with members of a protected class and thereby experience discriminatory treatment based on that association, even if they are not members of a protected class themselves. 

Examples: 

  • Refusing to hire or promote a person because of the person’s age (any age over 40);
  • Treating persons differently from others because of assumptions about, or stereotypes regarding, the aptitude, intellectual ability or interest of a group based upon race, religion, color, national origin, age, marital or parental status (including pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions), veteran status, sex, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression;
  • Unlawful disparity in the terms, conditions and privileges of employment based upon race, religion, color, national origin, age, marital or parental status (including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions), veteran status, sex, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression;
  • Difference in treatment in educational programs based upon race, religion, color, national origin, age, marital or parental status (including pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions), veteran status, sex, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression; and
  • Terminating an employee’s employment on the basis of the employee’s relationship or association with an individual with a disability or of a particular race. 

Discriminatory harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on or motivated by an individual’s actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, age, marital or parental status (including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions), veteran status, sex, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or any other legally protected status that is severe, persistent, or pervasive and creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive living, working or educational environment, or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment, academic performance, education, or participation in extracurricular programs or activities. 

Discriminatory harassment may take many forms, including physical, verbal, and nonverbal acts and written statements in any manner or media. Discriminatory harassment does not have to include intent to harm or be directed at a specific target. Isolated comments, unless extremely serious, will generally not rise to the level of discriminatory harassment under this policy. Determinations are made based upon the totality of the circumstances involved including, but not limited to, the relationship of the parties and the frequency of the conduct. Reasonable directives by supervisors, educators, or otherwise authorized College personnel regarding the methods employed to carry out employment or educational assignments are not considered harassing under this policy. 

Examples of conduct contributing to discriminatory harassment include: 

  • Unwelcome conduct or material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion to an individual because of his, her, or their race, religion, color, national origin, age, marital or parental status (including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions), veteran status, sex, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression;
  • Epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping that relate to race, religion, color, national origin, age, marital or parental status (including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions), veteran status, sex, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression;
  • Threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts that relate to race, religion, color, national origin, age, marital or parental status (including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions), veteran status, sex, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression; or 
  • Sexual harassment (as further defined below). 

For the purpose of this policy, sexual harassment consists of two basic types: 

  • Quid Pro Quo Harassment. Any action in which submission to or rejection of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s education, grades, recommendations, extracurricular programs or activities, or employment opportunities. 
  • Inappropriate Environment Based on Sex. Any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is severe, persistent, or pervasive, and creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive living, working or educational environment, or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment, academic performance, education, or participation in extracurricular programs or activities. In either type of sexual harassment noted above, the effect will be evaluated from both a subjective perspective, as well as the objective perspective of a reasonable person in the position of the person who experienced the conduct. 

Forms of Sexual Harassment: In some cases, sexual harassment is obvious and may involve an overt action, a threat, or reprisal. In other instances, sexual harassment is subtle and indirect, with a coercive aspect that is unstated or implied. Some examples include the following:

  • Sexual harassment can occur between persons of equal power status (e.g., student to student, staff to staff) or between persons of unequal power status (e.g., faculty member to student, coach to student-athlete). 
  • Although sexual harassment often occurs in the context of the misuse of power by the individual with the greater power, a person who appears to have less or equal power in a relationship can also commit sexual harassment. 
  • Sexual harassment can be committed by or against an individual or by or against an organization or group. Sexual harassment can be committed by an acquaintance, a stranger, or people who shared a personal, intimate, or sexual relationship. 
  • Sexual harassment can occur by or against an individual of any sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.

Examples of behavior that might be considered sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • Unwanted sexual innuendo, propositions, sexual attention or suggestive comments and gestures; inappropriate humor about sex or gender-specific traits; sexual slurs or derogatory language directed at another person’s sexuality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or gender expression; insults and threats based on sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or gender expression; and other oral, written or electronic communications of a sexual nature that an individual communicates is unwanted and unwelcome.
  • Written graffiti or the display or distribution of sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written or electronic materials; sexually charged name-calling; or the circulation, display, or creation of emails, text or social media messages, or websites of a sexual nature.
  • Display or circulation of written or electronic materials or pictures degrading to an individual or gender group where such display is not directly related to academic freedom, or an educational/pedagogical, artistic, or work purpose.
  • Unwelcome physical contact or suggestive body language, such as touching, patting, pinching, hugging, kissing, or brushing against an individual’s body.
  • Physical coercion or pressure of an individual to engage in sexual activity or punishment for a refusal to respond or comply with sexual advances.
  • Use of a position of power or authority to: (1) threaten or punish, either directly or by implication, for refusing to tolerate harassment, for refusing to submit to sexual activity, or for reporting harassment, or (2) promise rewards in return for sexual favors.
  • Acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex stereotyping.

Sexual violence is physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. Physical sexual acts include, but are not limited to, vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with a body part or object, or oral copulation by mouth-to-genital contact. This definition includes rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion and includes assault with the specific intent to commit such an act. Sexual violence may involve individuals who are known to one another or have an intimate and/or sexual relationship (relationship violence), or may involve individuals not known to one another.

 

Other inappropriate sexual contact is having or attempting to have sexual contact of any kind other than that defined as “Sexual Violence” with another individual without consent. Other inappropriate sexual contact may include kissing, touching, or making other inappropriate contact with the breasts, genitals, buttocks, mouth, or any other part of the body that is touched in a sexual manner and without permission.

Sexual exploitation is any act committed through non-consensual abuse or exploitation of another person’s sexuality for the purpose of sexual gratification, personal benefit or advantage or any other illegitimate purpose. Sexual exploitation may involve individuals who are known to one another, have an intimate or sexual relationship, or may involve individuals not known to one another. Examples include, but are not limited to, observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved, manipulating contraception or prophylaxis without the other party’s knowledge, procuring/stealing an individual’s undergarments without consent, and possession of illegal pornography, in addition to the following:

  • Media-Based Misconduct. Photographing or taping someone (via audio, video or otherwise) involved in sexual activity, or in a state of undress, without his, her, or their knowledge or consent. Even if a person consented to sexual activity, photographing or taping someone without his, her or their knowledge and agreement goes beyond the boundaries of that consent. Dissemination of photographs or video/audio of someone involved in sexual activity, or in a state of undress, without his, her, or their knowledge or consent constitutes a separate and additional act of sexual misconduct.
  • Inducing Incapacitation. This includes the provision of alcohol or drugs to an individual, with or without that individual’s knowledge, for the purpose of causing impairment or intoxication to allow another person to take advantage of that individual’s impairment or intoxication.
  • Aiding or Assisting. The aiding or assisting in the commission of an act(s) of sexual violence or sexual misconduct is prohibited. An example of aiding in the commission of sexual violence includes encouraging students to engage in sexual activity when one knows those students to be incapacitated by drugs or alcohol. 

No faculty or other employee (whether permanent, temporary, full- or part-time) may engage in any type of romantic or amorous relationship or sexual activity of any type, even if consensual, with a student at any time. Student-employees are not considered “employees” for the purpose of this definition. The College may make exceptions to this prohibition on a case-by-case basis and only in coordination with the Chief Human Resources Officer and the Director of Equal Opportunity. 

Romantic or amorous relationships that might be appropriate in other circumstances have inherent dangers when they occur between supervisors and individuals whom they supervise. Such relationships are fundamentally asymmetric and unprofessional, and they raise serious concerns about the validity of consent, conflict of interest and fair treatment. In addition, such relationships are to be avoided because they may create an impression on the part of colleagues of inappropriate or inequitable professional advantage or favoritism that is destructive to the working or learning environment and may raise doubts about the integrity of work performed. Any sexual, amorous or romantic involvement with any individual, including faculty, staff, or person engaged as volunteer, intern, or independent contractor, over whom they have direct supervisory responsibility, even if consensual, is prohibited by this policy. Even when both parties have initially consented to such a relationship, it is the administrator, faculty member, or staff member who, by virtue of his, her or their special supervisory responsibility, will be held accountable for the unprofessional relationship or abuse of authority. The director of Equal Opportunity, together with either the provost/dean of the College with respect to faculty members, or the Chief Human Resources Officer with respect to other employees will make exceptions to this prohibition in appropriate circumstances (e.g., a dual-career couple recruited to work in the same scholarly area), with implementation of any necessary measures to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest.

Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that does not rise to the level of severe, persistent, or pervasive but is unreasonable in a living, working or educational environment. If Other Inappropriate Sexual Behavior is the only alleged violation of this policy with respect to a Respondent, the director of Equal Opportunity may determine, in his, her or their sole discretion, whether to conduct an inquiry in order to determine whether preventative or remedial measures should be taken, such as warning, monitoring, training (individual or part of a group) or counseling.

Intentionally engaging in conduct to:

  • Adversely affect a person’s educational, living, or work environment because of their good faith participation in the reporting, investigation, and/or resolution of a report of a violation of this policy. “Adversely affect” for this purpose means any action that is reasonably likely to deter a person from such participation and does not include petty slights or trivial annoyances.
  • Discourage a reasonable person from making a report or participating (in any capacity) in an investigation under this policy, the Sexual Misconduct Policy or any other College policy, or any other local, state, or federal complaint process, e.g., filing a complaint with an entity like the U.S. Department of Education. 

Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, acts or words that constitute intimidation, threats, or coercion intended to pressure any individual to participate, not participate, or provide false or misleading information during any proceeding under this policy. Retaliation may include abuse or violence, other forms of harassment, and/or making false statements about another person in any manner or media with intent to harm their reputation. 

Retaliation can be committed by any individual or group of individuals, not just by a Respondent or a Complainant. Retaliation may constitute a violation of this policy even when the underlying report made did not result in a finding of responsibility. 

Retaliation, even in the absence of provable discrimination or discriminatory harassment, constitutes a serious violation of this policy. 

Retaliation may also be reviewed under the Sexual Misconduct Policy as it is defined in that policy. 

Engaging in other conduct which is prohibited by this policy (e.g., recording the proceedings) or failure to comply with a duty or obligation set forth in, or imposed pursuant to, this policy (e.g., duty of honesty, duty of cooperation or duty to report). These duties are owed to the College and no individual shall have the ability to act as a Complainant or otherwise have rights with respect to any such duty.

The inappropriate behaviors listed above are not an exhaustive list. The College may consider any other conduct that has a legally-protected class connotation under this policy. 

  • Consent, Coercion, Incapacitation. The definitions of these terms are the same as the definitions set forth in Section VII.A of the Sexual Misconduct Policy. 
  • Complainant. The individual who experienced conduct that may have violated the policy. The College may bring a complaint with respect to a Respondent without a Complainant. 
  • Respondent. The individual who is alleged to have violated the policy.
  • Parties/Party. The Complainant and the Respondent collectively are referred to as the “Parties” and each individually as a “Party.”
  • Teaching Faculty Member. An employee who is designated as a teaching faculty member pursuant to the Statutes of the Faculty.

Process for Investigation and Resolution of Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Complaints

Learn more about the process for investigation and resolution of Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Complaints (PDF).

Seeking Supportive Measures

A respondent or complainant in an Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment matter may request academic, living, transportation or other adjustments to their daily schedules in order to better provide an environment of safety and support.

Learn more about supportive measures.

Archived Sexual Misconduct Policies