Unwelcome conduct that is of an implicitly or overtly sexual nature, or is based on a person’s actual or perceived sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Sexual harassment, including sexual assault, can involve persons of the same or opposite sex, and includes any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, education or participation in a University activity;
- Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for, or a factor in, decisions affecting that individual's employment, education or participation in a University activity;
- Submission to such conduct is based on retaliation; or
- Such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive and has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program and/or activities, or the effect of creating an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment for that individual's employment, education or participation in a University activity.
The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” includes whether it is based on a protected category and the totality of the circumstances. These circumstances could include:
- The frequency of the conduct;
- The nature and severity of the conduct;
- Whether the conduct was physically threatening;
- Whether the conduct was humiliating;
- The effect of the conduct on the alleged victim’s mental or emotional state;
- Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person;
- Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
- Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the alleged victim’s educational or work performance; and
- Whether the statement is a mere utterance of an epithet which engenders offense in an employee or student, or offends by mere discourtesy or rudeness.