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Prohibited Behavior

Sexual Misconduct
Gordon College does not tolerate any form of sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct is a broad term that includes a range of behaviors including, but not limited to, sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, stalking, and any other conduct of a sexual nature that is non-consensual, or has the purpose or effect of threatening, intimidating, or coercing a student or employee. Sexual misconduct violates an individual’s rights, dignity, and integrity, and the College’s standards of behavior (See Statement of Life and Conduct) and will result in disciplinary action.

Sexual misconduct can occur between individuals who know each other, have a current or previous relationship, or between individuals who do not know each other. Both men and women are protected from sexual misconduct under this policy regardless of the sex of the alleged perpetrator or complainant.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is conduct of a sexual nature that is unwelcome, and denies or limits a person’s ability to participate in or receive the benefits, services, or opportunities of the College’s programs or activities. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when

  • Submission to or rejection of such advances, requests, or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, evaluation of academic work or participation in any College activity or benefit (including social or extracurricular activities; OR

  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for decisions regarding employment or student status (including academic evaluation); OR

  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive work or learning environment. A hostile environment can be created by persistent or pervasive conduct or by a single serious episode. 

Examples of Conduct that Can Constitute Unlawful Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment does not refer to behavior or occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature. Sexual harassment occurs in a variety of situations which share a common element: the unwelcome and inappropriate introduction of sexual activities or comments into the work or learning environment.

Depending upon the circumstances, examples of sexual harassment could include such conduct as the following:

  • Unwelcome flirtations, advances or propositions which are of a sexual nature

  • Inappropriate and unwelcome physical contact such as touching, hugging, patting or pinching which is uninvited and unwanted by the other person

  • Unwanted staring or leering at a person 

  • Requests for sexual favors in exchange for promised employment benefits or preferential treatment

  • Verbal comments of a sexual nature, including comments about an individual’s body, sexual activity or sexual attractiveness; the use of sexually degrading language or innuendo; sexually suggestive gestures, sounds or jokes

  • Displays of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons or written materials Additionally, the dissemination of sexual explicit voice mail, e-mail, graphics, downloaded material or websites in the workplace is prohibited. 

Sexual Violence 
Sexual violence is defined as sexual acts perpetrated against an individual’s will or when an individual is incapable of giving affirmative consent.

This includes all forms of sexual assault (including rape and fondling) and sexual coercion as those terms are defined below. All forms of sexual violence are considered sexual misconduct under this policy. 

Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is defined as any sexual act directed against another person without their consent, including rape, fondling and any other nonconsensual sexual touching. It includes sexual contact in which the individual is incapable of giving consent, either legally (including incest and statutory rape) or because of physical incapacitation (including by drugs or alcohol), lack of consciousness, sleep, or disability. Sexual assault may or may not involve use of force, threat, intimidation, or coercion.  Sexual assault is a criminal act, punishable by civil and criminal legal action, as well as disciplinary action by the College. All acts of sexual assault are considered sexual misconduct under this policy.  Sexual assault includes the following:           

Rape is a form of sexual assault and is defined as 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 victim.

Unwanted Sexual Touching & Fondling is a form of sexual assault. Fondling, a specific form of unwanted sexual touching, is defined as the touching of the private body parts of another person (including over clothing) for the purposes of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the individual is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.

In addition to fondling, unwanted sexual touching may include causing another person to touch one’s private body parts, removing clothing without consent, and nonconsensual kissing. Private body parts include the breasts, buttocks, genital area, abdomen, inner thigh, or mouth.

Sexual Exploitation 
Sexual Exploitation occurs when one person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own personal advantage or benefit, (and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses). Examples include, but are not limited to: invasion of sexual privacy; streaming of images, photography video or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all parties; voyeurism; inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity. 

Intimate Relationship Violence 
Intimate Relationship Violence, including domestic violence and dating violence, may be a single act or a pattern of abusive behavior between romantic, intimate, and/or sexual partners or former partners.  Intimate relationship violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound the other partner or former partner. An individual who believes that he or she is a victim of intimate relationship violence, should contact the Gordon Police or local law enforcement to discuss a protective order, or the Office of Student Life to obtain a campus no-contact order. 

Stalking or Criminal Harassment  
Criminal harassment is a pattern of conduct or series of acts directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress. If this conduct also involves a threat with the intent to cause fear of serious bodily injury, Massachusetts law considers it stalking. The pattern of conduct may include, but is not limited to: following, monitoring, pursuing contact, communicating through letters or telephone calls, or cyberstalking. Both stalking and criminal harassment are illegal; contact the Gordon Police or local law enforcement to see if a protective order can be obtained. 

Retaliation or attempts to seek retribution against a student, an employee, or any other individual involved in filing a complaint or participating in the investigation of an allegation of sexual misconduct is prohibited by this policy and may constitute separate grounds for disciplinary action. Retaliation can include threats, intimidation and abuse. Such retaliation is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the College. 

Individuals who believe they have experienced retaliation should contact the Title IX Coordinator and the College will investigate the complaint. If the College determines that retaliation occurred, an appropriate action will be taken regardless of the outcome of the underlying sexual misconduct complaint.