Sex and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy

The following is an exerpt from Section VI of the Code of Student Conduct.

Expectations Regarding Physical Sexual Misconduct

In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear, knowing and voluntary consent prior to and during sexual activity. Consent is sexual permission. Consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is not as clear as talking about what you want sexually and what you don’t. Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity. Silence, without actions demonstrating permission, cannot be assumed to show consent. Additionally, coercion is different than seduction or courtship. Coercing someone into sexual activity violates this policy in the same way as physically forcing someone into sex. Coercion happens when someone is pressured unreasonably for sex, and is defined later in this policy. Because alcohol or other drug use can place the capacity to consent in question, sober sex is less likely to raise such questions. When alcohol or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. “No” always means “No;” however, “Yes” does not necessarily mean “Yes” to everything, and can be withdrawn at any time during the activity. Anything but a clear, knowing and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a “no.”

Expectations Regarding Consensual Relationships

There are inherent risks in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions (such as professor and student, supervisor and employee). These relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent may not remove grounds for a later charge of a violation of applicable sections of the faculty/staff handbooks. The University does not wish to interfere with private choices regarding personal relationships when these relationships do not interfere with the goals and policies of the University. For the personal protection of members of this community, relationships in which power differentials are inherent (faculty-student, staff-student, administrator-student) are generally discouraged. Consensual romantic or sexual relationships in which one party maintains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are unethical. Therefore, persons with direct supervisory or evaluative responsibilities who are involved in such relationships must bring those relationships to the timely attention of their supervisor, and will likely result in the necessity to remove the employee from the supervisory or evaluative responsibilities, or shift the student out of being supervised or evaluated by someone with whom they have established a consensual relationship. This includes RAs and students over whom they have direct responsibility. While no relationships are prohibited by this policy, failure to selfreport such relationships to a supervisor as required can result in disciplinary action for an employee.

Sexual Misconduct Offenses Include, But Are Not Limited To:

  1. Sexual Harassment
  2. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (or attempts to commit same)
  3. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempts to commit same)
  4. Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is:

  • unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is,
  • sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it,
  • unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational program and/or activities, and is
  • based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.

Examples include: an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence, stalking; gender-based bullying.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is:

  • any intentional sexual touching,
  • however slight,
  • with any object,
  • by a person upon another person,
  • that is without consent and/or by force.

Sexual Contact includes, but may not be limited to: Intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is:

  • any sexual intercourse
  • however slight,
  • with any object,
  • by a person upon another person,
  • that is without consent and/or by force.

Intercourse includes, but may not be limited to: vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation occurs when a student takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Invasion of sexual privacy;
  • Prostituting another student;
  • Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity;
  • Going beyond the boundaries of consent (letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
  • Engaging in voyeurism;
  • Knowingly transmitting an STI or HIV to another student;
  • Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals;
  • Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation
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