DEFINITIONS OF GENDER-BASED MISCONDUCT


Sexual Assault: Intercourse
Any form of vaginal, anal, or oral penetration, however slight, by a penis, object, tongue, or finger without a person’s affirmative consent.

Sexual Assault: Contact
Any sexual contact, including sexual touching for the purpose of sexual gratification of either party, without a person’s affirmative consent. Sexual touching includes contact under or over clothing with the breasts, buttocks, genitals, groin or inner thigh, or touching another with any of these body parts; making another person touch any of these body parts under or over clothing; or the emission of ejaculate on the clothing or body of another person without that person’s consent.

Domestic Violence
The use or threat of physical or sexual violence that is directed toward (1) a current or former spouse or intimate partner; (2) a person with whom one shares a child; or (3) anyone who is protected from the Respondent’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of New York. This violation includes behavior that seeks to establish power and control over another person by causing fear of physical or sexual violence. Domestic violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior, based on the frequency, nature, and severity of the conduct.

Examples of this type of violence include hitting, kicking, punching, strangling, or other violent acts, including violence or threats of violence to one’s self, one’s partner, or the family members, friends, pets, or personal property of the partner.

Dating Violence
The use or threat of physical or sexual violence that is directed toward a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or sexually intimate nature with the Respondent. This violation includes behavior that seeks to establish power and control over another person by causing fear of physical or sexual violence. Dating violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior, based on the frequency, nature, and severity of the conduct.

Examples of this type of violence include hitting, kicking, punching, strangling, or other violent acts, including violence or threats of violence to one’s self, one’s partner, or the family members, friends, pets, or personal property of the partner.

Sexual Exploitation
Non-consensual abuse or exploitation of another person’s sexuality for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit or advantage, or any other illicit purpose.

Examples of sexual exploitation include observing another person’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe nudity or sexual activity without the knowledge and affirmative consent of all participants; non-consensual streaming or distribution of images, photography, video, or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity without the knowledge and affirmative consent of all participants; exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; and inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.

Stalking
A course of unwanted attention that is repeated or obsessive, directed toward an individual or a group and that is reasonably likely to cause alarm, fear or substantial emotional distress. Stalking may take many forms, including lying in wait for, monitoring, and/or pursuing contact. Stalking may occur in person or through communications such as telephone calls, text messages, unwanted gifts, letters, e-mails, surveillance, or other types of observation.

Sexual Harassment
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual contact, and other verbal, physical, or visual conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s academic, co-curricular, or student life activities;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or student life decisions affecting that individual;
  • Such conduct is intentional, serves no legitimate purpose, and involves contact with parts of another individual’s body that may cause that person to feel degraded or abused;
  • When the behavior is for the purpose of gratifying the actor’s sexual desire; or
  • Such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with another person’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive campus or living environment.

Gender-Based Harassment
Acts of aggression, intimidation, stalking, or hostility based on gender or gender stereotyping constitute gender-based harassment. Gender-based harassment can occur if students are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic of their gender or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. To constitute harassment, the conduct must unreasonably interfere with another person’s education or participation in educational programs or activities or create an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive academic or living environment.

Retaliation
Any adverse action or threatened action, taken or made, personally or through a third- party, against someone who has filed a gender-based misconduct complaint (a Complainant) or has been the subject of a gender-based misconduct complaint (a Respondent) or any other individual (a Witness, Third-Party Reporter or Advisor) who engages with the Office and/or the process.
  • All individuals and groups of individuals, not just a Respondent or Complainant, are prohibited from engaging in retaliation. Retaliation can refer to actions or threatened actions by any individual, including students and others who are not engaged with the Office.
  • Retaliation includes threatening, intimidating, harassing, or any other conduct that would discourage a reasonable person from engaging in activity protected under this Policy, such as seeking services; receiving protective measures and accommodations; reporting gender-based misconduct; or participating in an investigation or adjudication as a Complainant, Respondent, Witness, Third-Party Reporter or Advisor.
  • Retaliation includes maliciously and purposefully interfering with, threatening, or damaging the academic or professional career of another individual, before, during or after the investigation and resolution of a report of gender-based misconduct under this Policy.
  • Retaliation may also include violations of a no contact directive and/or other interim measures put in place during the course of an investigation.
  • This provision does not apply to reports made or information provided in good faith, even if the facts alleged in the report are determined not to be accurate.
  • If the alleged retaliation occurs during the course of an investigation and occurs between the Complainant and the Respondent, these allegations may be investigated separately through the Dean’s Discipline process or folded into the pending investigation, based on the circumstances of the allegation.
  • Allegations of retaliation by other parties, i.e., not between the Complainant and the Respondent, will be investigated separately by the Office when the allegations involve gender-based misconduct. Any other allegations of retaliation will be investigated and adjudicated through the Dean’s Discipline process.

Here are some additional examples of conduct that could constitute gender-based misconduct under the definitions discussed:
  • Coercion for a date or a romantic or intimate relationship
  • Unwelcome touching, kissing, hugging, or massaging
  • Use of unwanted force in connection with sexual activity or attempted sexual activity
  • Sexual contact with a person who has not clearly consented
  • Unwelcome remarks about a person’s genitals or breasts
  • Belittling remarks about a person’s gender or sexual orientation based on gender stereotypes
  • Videotaping or photographing of activity of a sexual or private nature without the consent of the person(s) being videotaped or photographed
  • Graffiti concerning the sexual activity of another person
  • Use of e-mail, the Internet, or other forms of digital media to facilitate any of the conduct previously listed
  • Publishing a social media post threatening to harm an individual who speaks with the Office
Back to Top

Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and Procedures for Students


LOOKING FOR OTHER RESOURCES?

  • Sexual Violence Response
  • Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Title IX Offices
  • Ombuds Office
  • Columbia University Public Safety
  • Teacher's College Public Safety
  • Barnard College Public Safety

Click for other on-campus and off-campus resources.