What Is Sexual Misconduct?

Sexual misconduct umbrella term used to encompass unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is committed without valid consent, including sexual assault, sexual harassment (including stalking), and other forms of sex-based discrimination. 

Men or women can engage in sexual misconduct and sexual misconduct can occur between people of the same or different sexes.

Sexual Assault

  • Unwanted or unwelcome touching of a sexual nature, including hugging, kissing, fondling, oral sex, anal or vaginal intercourse, or other physical sexual activity that occurs without valid consent.


  • Any unwanted contact between a stalker and their target of a sexual or romantic nature that directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the target in fear. 
  • Examples:  following a person; repeated and unwanted telephone calls; making repeated and unwanted contact by email or on social media sites (e.g., Twitter, Facebook); or leaving gifts for their target. 

Intimate Partner Violence

  • Unwanted or unwelcomed touching of a sexual nature or use of physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, stalking, or other forms of emotional, sexual or economic abuse directed towards a partner in an intimate relationship, such as domestic violence and dating violence. 
  • May be a single act or a pattern of behavior in relationships.  Intimate partner relationships can include both short or long-term relationships (current or former) between persons intended to provide some emotional/romantic and/or physical intimacy.

Sexual Harassment

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature if:
  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of an individual’s education, living environment, employment, or participation in a University-related 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 education, living environment, employment, or participation in a  University-related activity; or
  • Conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or abusive environment for that individual’s education, living environment, employment, or participation in a University-related activity. Sexual harassment may occur via various communication devices, via social media or via the Internet.


  •  Clear, freely given, and unambiguous agreement to engage in a particular activity. Consent cannot be procured by the use of physical force, compelling threats, intimidating behavior or coercion. A person who is incapacitated or who is unable to give consent due to age or an intellectual and/or other disability cannot validly give consent.
  • Either party at any point can withdraw consent. Moreover, consent to engage in one sexual activity, or past agreement to engage in a particular sexual activity, cannot be presumed to constitute consent to engage in a different sexual activity or to engage again in sexual activity.