Feature Image

As defined by JMU Policy 1340 Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct
Sexual misconduct includes sexual assault, sexual violence, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, relational violence, sexual exploitation, stalking, and all other forms of misconduct on the basis of or because of a reporter’s sex, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity.

Sexual Assault
Any physical contact of a sexual nature that is forced on another person, including unwelcome sexual touching of any kind. This includes engaging or attempting to engage in any unwelcome sexual intercourse (oral, anal or vaginal) or penetration, however slight, with any object or body part without consent, or intentional touching (either of another person or when the person is forced to touch) of a body part in a sexual manner without consent, directly or through clothing. Sexual assault includes nonconsensual attempted or completed sexual intercourse, penetration with any part of the body or an object, touching or forcing another person to touch in a sexual manner, kissing, physical contact with any part of the body for sexual purposes or forcing another to touch himself or herself in a sexual manner.

Sexual Violence
Physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the person’s age, mental state or use of drugs or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the person from having the capacity to give consent). A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse and sexual coercion. Sexual violence is a form of sex discrimination and harassment, and is not limited by gender, gender identity or sexual orientation of the reporter or the respondent.

Sexual Harassment
A form of sex discrimination consisting of unwelcome or offensive sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other conduct of a sexual nature including: verbal (e.g., specific demands for sexual favors, sexual innuendoes, sexually suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions, or sexual threats); non-verbal (e.g., sexually suggestive emails, other writings, articles or documents, objects or pictures, graphic commentaries, suggestive or insulting sounds or gestures, leering, whistling, or obscene gestures); or physical (e.g., touching, pinching, brushing the body, any unwelcome or coerced sexual activity, including sexual assault). Sexual harassment, including sexual assault, can involve persons of the same or different sexes.  Sexual harassment may also include sex-based harassment directed toward stereotypical notions of what is female/feminine v. male/masculine or a failure to conform to those gender stereotypes.  This policy prohibits the following types of sexual harassment:

- Term or condition of employment or education.  This type of sexual harassment (often referred to as "quid pro quo" harassment) occurs when the terms or conditions of employment, educational benefits, academic grades or opportunities, living environment or participation in a university activity are conditioned upon, either explicitly or implicitly, submission to or rejection of unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, or such submission or rejection is a factor in decisions affecting that individual's employment, education, living environment, or participation in a university program or activity.

- Hostile environment: Acts that create a hostile environment, as defined herein

Dating Violence
A form of sexual violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with another person, 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.
•    The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic Violence
An incident or pattern of physically, sexually and/or emotionally abusive behavior used by one individual to assert power or maintain control over another in the context of an intimate or family relationship. Depending on the circumstances, this may be a form of sexual violence.

Relational Violence
A form of sexual violence which consists of physical assaults or serious threats of bodily harm including, but not limited to, domestic violence and dating violence.

Sexual Exploitation
Taking sexual advantage of another person without that individual’s consent. Examples include, but are not limited to, prostituting another person; causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person for a sexual purpose; recording, photographing or transmitting sexual utterances, sounds or images of another person without that person’s consent; allowing a third party to observe sexual activity without the consent of the participants; knowingly transmitting sexually transmitted infections or other diseases without the knowledge of the person’s sexual partner; inducing another to expose his/her body for sexual purposes; and viewing another person’s 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. Sexual exploitation is a form of sexual misconduct.

Stalking
Repeated conduct which places a person or his/her family in reasonable fear of death, sexual assault or bodily injury. Stalking is a form of sexual misconduct.

Consent
An outward demonstration through understandable words or actions that convey a knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent cannot be gained by force that is express or implied, coercion, intimidation, threats or duress. Consent cannot be obtained by ignoring or acting in spite of the objections of another, by previous consent or by taking advantage of another person’s incapacitation or physical helplessness where one knows or reasonably should have known of such incapacitation or helplessness. An individual who is incapacitated because of age, disability, voluntary activity or through the acts of others cannot give consent. Silence or absence of resistance does not imply consent. Consent is voluntary and may be withdrawn at any time by communicating the withdrawal through an outward demonstration of understandable words or actions.

Incapacitation
Physical or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. States of incapacitation include, without limitation, sleep, blackouts, unconsciousness, and the inability to make such decisions due to the voluntary or involuntary use of alcohol or drugs. Incapacitation may occur because of age, disability, voluntary activity or through the acts of others.

Interim Measures
Temporary and immediate measures or interventions which may be taken by the university upon receipt of a  report or formal complaint of sexual misconduct to ensure a safe environment for the parties, including but not limited to, no-contact orders between the reporter and the respondent; temporary changes of assignments, classes, schedules or jobs; temporary changes of university-provided housing; temporary restrictions on use of facilities; temporary transportation options; temporary suspensions from school or work; unpaid leave; or any other measure that would provide a safe work and/or learning environment for both parties during the processing of a report and/or a formal complaint. Remedial actions may be imposed upon a finding of a violation of this policy.

Hostile environment
A hostile environment is created by oral, written, graphic or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive and objectively offensive that it interferes with, limits or denies the ability of a person to participate in or benefit from the institute's educational programs, services, opportunities, or activities or the individual's employment access, benefits or opportunities. Mere subjective offensiveness is not enough to create a hostile environment.  In determining whether conduct is severe, persistent or pervasive, and thus creates a hostile environment, the following factors will be considered: (a) the degree to which the conduct affected one or more individuals' education or employment; (b) the nature, scope, frequency, duration, and location of the incident(s); (c) the identity, number, and relationships of persons involved; (d) the perspective of a “reasonable person” in the same situation as the person subjected to the conduct, and (e) the nature of higher education. A hostile environment for a member of the university community can be created by the actions of an employee, a student, an affiliate or a visitor.

Report
Any oral or written allegations by a university community member that describes an alleged instance of sexual misconduct by a student, employee, affiliate or visitor, whether or not a respondent is identified by name or the reporter files a formal complaint under this policy. An oral report is not a formal complaint. All reports made to a responsible employee must be communicated to a Title IX Officer.

Unwelcome Conduct
Conduct is considered unwelcome if the individual subjected to the conduct did not request, consent to or invite it and reasonably considers the conduct to be undesirable or harmful.

Reporter
A university community member who reasonably believes that he/she has been subjected to sexual misconduct by a student, employee, affiliate or visitor, whether or not he/she identifies a respondent by name or files a report or a formal complaint under this policy. Even if a report is made by a third party alleging sexual misconduct against a university community member, the term “reporter” as used in this policy refers to the individual who has allegedly been subjected to sexual misconduct. In that instance, the person making the report shall be identified as the “third party reporter.”

Respondent
A student, employee, affiliate or visitor who is accused of sexual misconduct or against whom a report is made or a formal complaint is filed under this policy.

Third Party Reporter
A person who makes a report or files a formal complaint on behalf of another individual he/she reasonably believes has been subjected to sexual misconduct by a student, employee, affiliate or visitor.

Responsible Employee
A university employee who has the duty to disclose all reports of sexual misconduct to a Title IX Officer. All university employees (except confidential resources defined above) are responsible employees. Student employees are covered by this definition, but students who are not employees of the university are not covered.

Retaliation
Overt or covert acts of discrimination, harassment, interference, intimidation, penalty, reprisal or restraint against a group or individual exercising rights, making a report, filing a formal complaint or cooperating with an investigation under this policy. Retaliation shall be considered a violation of this policy.

Sexual Violence Review Committee (SVRC)
A committee composed of a representative of the university’s Title IX administration, a member of the university’s police department and a member of the university’s student affairs administration. The SVRC reviews information related to acts of sexual violence, including information reported to the Title IX officers, to determine appropriate reports to be made to law enforcement units outside of the university.

Sex Discrimination
To take an adverse action or provide unequal treatment based on a person's sex, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity when such action deprives a person of a privilege or right (such as a benefit, an equitable evaluation, a grade, a position or a promotion) or otherwise adversely affects the person. Sex discrimination is not limited by gender, gender identity or sexual orientation of the reporter or the respondent. Sex discrimination also includes retaliation for filing a complaint under this policy or Policy 1324, and harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, as covered by Policy 1324. Sex discrimination specifically includes instances of sexual misconduct of any type (including dating violence, domestic violence, relational violence, sexual exploitation and stalking) perpetrated against a member of the university community or a visitor. See Policy 1324.


According to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, sexual harassment is conduct that:

  • Is sexual in nature
  • Is unwelcome
  • Denies or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from a school’s education program.
  • Sexual harassment can take different forms depending on the harasser and the nature of the harassment.
  • College or university employees, other students and non-employee third par­ties, such as a visiting speaker, can carry out this conduct.
  • The conduct can be verbal, nonverbal or physical.
  • Both male and female students can be victims of sexual harassment, and the harasser and the victim may be of the same sex.
  • Sexual harassment can occur in any school program or activity and can take place in institutional facilities or at off-campus locations, such as a school-sponsored retreat or training program at another location

Back to Top