Descriptions of Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct
Sexual misconduct is any sexual penetration, sexual contact, sexual exploitation or sexual harassment that occurs without the effective consent of all individuals involved.

Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration
Non-consensual sexual penetration is any sexual penetration (vaginal, anal or oral), however slight, with any object or part of the body, with another person without that person's effective consent.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
Non-consensual sexual contact is any intentional sexually related touching, however slight, with any object or part of the body, with another person without that person's effective consent. (This can include unwanted kissing or frontal hugging that is sexual in nature).

Sexual Exploitation
Sexual exploitation is taking advantage of another person without effective consent. It includes, but is not limited to, the following: causing the prostitution of another person; electronically recording, photographing or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, acts, sounds or images of another person; allowing third parties to observe sexual acts; engaging in voyeurism; distributing intimate or sexual information about another person; conduct that intentionally exposes a person's private body parts to others; or knowingly having a sexually transmitted infection (including HIV) and failing to inform a sexual partner prior to engaging in sexual activity.

Sexual Harassment
Unlawful sexual harassment may take one of three forms: (1) quid pro quo harassment, (2) hostile environment harassment or (3) retaliatory harassment.

Quid pro quo harassment typically involves an exchange of sexual favors for some benefit, and it most often occurs where there is a power differential (e.g., professor and student or boss and employee).

Hostile environment harassment occurs when a person or group engages in unwelcome speech or conduct so objectively offensive and sufficiently severe or persistent or pervasive that it,

  1. unreasonably interferes with or limits an individual's ability to participate in or benefit from academics, work or other services and activities


  1. creates an environment (academic, work or residential) that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive or intimidating. (An isolated incident, unless sufficiently severe, may not amount to hostile environment harassment).

Retaliatory harassment is any adverse action taken against a person participating in an investigation of Misconduct. Adverse actions may include name-calling, taunting or other threatening behavior. Retaliation against an individual for alleging Misconduct, supporting a party bringing a complaint, or assisting in providing information relevant to a claim of Misconduct is a serious violation of University policy and will be treated as another possible instance of Misconduct.

The following is a non-exhaustive set of behaviors which may constitute sexual harassment:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, propositions or requests for sexual favors
  • Unwelcome or inappropriate exposure, display, touching or physical contact
  • Showing/displaying sexually suggestive, demeaning or objectifying objects, pictures, words or gestures
  • Unwelcome or inappropriate comments, questions or sexually suggestive jokes

Other unwanted verbal, written, visual, online or physical contact of a sexual nature may constitute sexual harassment when:

  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of an individual's education or employment progress, development or performance
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's ability to carry out his or her responsibilities in the University environment

Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person(s) that is unwelcomed and would cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or (b) suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking behaviors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Non-consensual or unwelcomed communication, including face-to-face, phone calls, voice messages, electronic mail, online communication, written letters, etc.
  • Excessive calling or texting
  • Threatening, intrusive, frightening or obscene gestures
  • Following or pursuing
  • Surveillance or other types of observation
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism or destruction of victim's property
  • Unwelcomed gifts, flowers, etc.

Stalking is an insidious form of harassment that may initially be dismissed as harmless yet can dramatically impact the life of the person stalked and pose both physical and psychological risks.

All concerns about stalking should be taken seriously, whether or not there appears to be a level of threat and whether or not the stalker is known by the victim.

Relationship Violence
Relationship violence is a pattern of unwelcomed, abusive, coercive behaviors used to exert power and control over a current or former partner. These behaviors often increase in severity and frequency over time and may be cyclical. For the purposes of this policy, relationship violence includes domestic violence and dating violence.

Domestic Violence
Violence or abusive acts committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner to the victim by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, or by a person similarly situated to the victim as defined by the laws of Michigan.

Dating Violence
Violence or abusive acts committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship may be based on a consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of the relationship and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic or dating violence includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Physical abuse
  • Pushing, shoving, slapping, punching, kicking or strangling
  • Restraining, holding, tying down
  • Leaving the victim in a dangerous place
  • Emotional/psychological abuse
  • Threats of harm and/or intimidation
  • Physical or social isolation
  • Sexual abuse or misconduct

Discrimination Based on Sex
The unfavorable treatment of someone due to that person's gender or sex.

Definitions ⇒

Please note: A PDF of the full Policy is available here. Otherwise, continue to click through the links provided to view individual sections of the Policy.