Prohibited Conduct


  1. Sex Discrimination

    Sex discrimination is adverse treatment of an individual based on sex or gender. Sex discrimination encompasses sexual misconduct, as defined below, but also includes other behavior that does not constitute sexual misconduct.

    Complaints of sex discrimination that are not based on sexual misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator and will be resolved through the appropriate University process as determined based on the specific facts of the complaint. Sex discrimination complaints that are not based on sexual misconduct (as defined below) will NOT be handled through the Procedures set forth in this Policy.

  2. Sexual Misconduct

    The following offenses are considered sexual misconduct and are prohibited by this Policy. Complaints regarding the following will be handled pursuant to the Investigation and Resolution Procedures set forth in this Policy.

    1. Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is unwelcome communication or conduct of a sexual nature, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature without regard to whether the parties are of the same or different genders where:
      • submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment or the educational relationship, status in a position of employment or an academic course or program, or participation in any University activity or is used as the basis for employment or educational decisions affecting that individual (also referred to as “quid pro quo”); or
      • such conduct is sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to deny or limit a person's ability to participate in or benefit from the University 's programs, services, opportunities, or activities; or
      • such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with a student’s or employee’s work or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, educational, or living environment.

      In considering whether conduct constitutes sexual harassment, the University considers the totality of the circumstances. While sexual harassment encompasses a wide range of conduct, some examples of specifically prohibited conduct include, but are not limited to:

      • Physical assaults of a sexual nature, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, molestation, or attempts to commit these acts.  (Please refer also to the University’s definition of sexual violence.)
      • Intentional physical conduct that is sexual in nature such as touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, poking, or brushing against another individual's body.
      • Offering or implying a job- or education-related reward (such as a pay increase, a favorable employment evaluation, a job promotion, a better grade, a letter of recommendation, favorable treatment in the classroom, assistance in obtaining employment, grants or fellowships, or admission to any educational program or activity) in exchange for sexual favors or submission to sexual conduct.
      • Threatening or taking a negative employment or educational action (such as a reduction in pay, a negative employment evaluation, or a demotion, giving an unfair grade, withholding a letter of recommendation, or withholding assistance with any educational activity) or intentionally making the individual's job or academic work more difficult because sexual conduct is rejected.
      • The use or display in the workplace or classroom, including electronic means, of pornographic or sexually harassing materials such as posters, photos, cartoons or graffiti without pedagogical or other justification.
      • Unwelcome sexual advances, repeated propositions or requests for a sexual relationship to an individual who has previously indicated that such conduct is unwelcome, or sexual gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, questions, or comments about a person's sexuality or sexual experience.
    2. Sexual Violence:  Sexual violence (often referred to as “sexual assault”) is a particular type of sexual harassment that involves actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual violence may involve individuals who are known to one another or have an intimate and/or sexual relationship, or may involve individuals not known to one another. Sexual violence includes, but is not limited to:
      • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact:  The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, when consent is not present or coercion and/or force is used. This includes contact done directly or indirectly through clothing, bodily fluids, or with an object. It also includes causing or inducing a person, when consent is not present, to similarly touch or fondle oneself or someone else.
      • Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse:  Any penetration, however slight, of the vagina or anus with any object or body part, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, by a man or woman upon a man or a woman, when consent is not present or coercion and/or force is used.
      • Incest:  Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by the laws of the state in which the incident occurred. (For incidents that occur outside of the U.S. (e.g., study abroad programs), Illinois law will apply in determining a violation of this Policy.)
      • Statutory Rape:  Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the legal age of consent (17 years in Illinois). (For incidents that occur outside of the U.S. (e.g., study abroad programs), Illinois law will apply in determining a violation of this Policy.)
    3. Sexual Exploitation:  Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another individual(s) for his/her own advantage or personal  benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses in this Policy.  Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
      • prostituting another person;
      • non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity;
      • going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
      • engaging in voyeurism;
      • knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another;
      • threatening to send, or the act of sending nude or incriminating photos to others regardless of whether they were originally obtained with consent.
  3. Interpersonal Violence

    The following offenses are considered interpersonal violence and are prohibited by the University. Complaints regarding the following will be handled pursuant to the Procedures set forth in this Policy.

    1. Domestic Violence:  Domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabited with the victim, by a  person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family laws of the jurisdiction, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; or by anyone else against an adult or youth victim who is protected under the domestic or family violence law of the jurisdiction.
    2. Dating Violence: Dating violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, 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, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. It includes but is not limited to sexual abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence, above.
    3. Stalking:  Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her, his, or others’ safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purposes of this definition:
      1. Course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property;
      2. Reasonable person” means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim; and
      3. Substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

      Examples of stalking behavior include following a person, conducting surveillance of the person, appearing at the person’s home, work or school, making unwanted phone calls, sending unwanted emails or text messages, leaving objects for the person, vandalizing the person’s property, or injuring a pet.

  4. Additional Definitions
    1. Consent: As noted above, all non-consensual sexual conduct is absolutely prohibited by the University. When determining whether there has been effective consent, the following guidelines will apply:

        • Consent is informed, freely and actively given agreement to sexual activity and requires clear communication between all persons involved in a sexual encounter. It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual contact to make sure they understand fully what the person with whom they are involved wants and does not want sexually.
        • Consent is active, not passive. Consent can be communicated verbally or by actions. But in whatever way consent is communicated, it must be mutually understandable.
        • Consent cannot be conferred from silence, lack of verbal or physical resistance, or submission resulting from the use or threat of force.
        • Consent cannot be inferred from a person’s manner of dress.
        • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not constitute consent to other forms of sexual activity.
        • Previous relationships or consent to past sexual activity does not constitute consent to future sexual acts.
        • Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not constitute consent to engage in sexual activity with another.
        • Consent cannot be procured by use of physical force, compelling threats, intimidating behavior, or coercion. Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior includes, but is not limited to:
          • Repeated or continued pressure by the sexual aggressor in an effort to engage in sexual contact with the individual.
          • Making repeated threats of harm if the individual does not want to participate in sexual contact.
          • Making the individual feel as if sexual contact is owed to the sexual aggressor.
          • Using manipulative comments to try to pressure the individual to engage in sexual contact.
          • Providing the individual with alcohol and/or drugs in an effort to decrease their inhibitions and decision-making capacity.
        • Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
        • A person cannot consent to sexual activity if that person is unable to understand the nature of the activity or give knowing consent due to circumstances, including without limitation the following:
          • The individual is incapacitated due to drug or alcohol consumption, either voluntarily or involuntarily;
          • The individual is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise unaware that sexual activity is occurring;
          • The individual is under age (17 years in Illinois); or
          • The individual has a mental disability that impairs his or her ability to provide consent.

      A person who is incapacitated due to the taking of a so-called “date-rape” drug cannot consent to sexual activity.  Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketomine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student for the purpose of inducing incapacity is a violation of this Policy. More information on these drugs can be found at http://www.911rape.org/.  If lack of consent is alleged by the reporting party, intoxication on the part of the responding party is not a valid defense. Rather, the standard measure is whether a reasonable person should have known that consent had not been or could not be given.

    2. Incapacitation: Incapacitation is a state where one cannot make a rational, reasonable decision to engage in sexual activity because they lack the ability to understand the fact, nature, or extent of the act (e.g., to understand the "who, what, when, where, why or how" of their sexual interaction), and/or is physically helpless.  For example, an individual is incapacitated, and therefore unable to give consent, if the individual is asleep, unconscious, or otherwise unaware that sexual activity is occurring. An individual will also be considered incapacitated if the person cannot understand the nature of the activity or communicate due to a mental or physical condition. Some indicators of incapacitation may include, but are not limited to, lack of control over physical movements, lack of awareness of circumstances or surroundings, or the inability to communicate for any reason.

      • Where alcohol or other drugs are involved, one does not have to be intoxicated or drunk to be considered incapacitated. The impact of alcohol and drugs varies from person to person, and evaluating incapacitation requires an assessment of how the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs impacts an individual’s: decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences and ability to make informed judgments, or capacity to appreciate the nature of the act. Whether a responding party reasonably should have known that a complainant was incapacitated will be evaluated using an objective reasonable person standard. The question is whether the responding party knew, or a sober, reasonable person in the position of the responding party, knew or should have known, that the complainant was incapacitated.
      • An individual may experience a blackout state in which they appear to be giving consent, but do not actually have conscious awareness or the ability to consent. It is especially important, therefore, that anyone engaging in sexual activity be aware of the other person's level of intoxication or impairment.
      • It is the responsibility of each party to be aware of the intoxication level of the other party before engaging in sexual activity. In general, sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs poses a risk to all Parties. If there is any doubt as to the level or extent of the other individual’s intoxication, it is safest to forgo or cease any sexual contact or activity.

      Again, being intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol is never a justifiable defense for sexual misconduct and does not excuse one from the responsibility to obtain consent.