What does Sexual Misconduct mean?
Sexual Misconduct, as defined in BYU’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, includes a range of unwelcome sexual conduct, including verbal and physical sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual violence, each of which is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. Other criminal behavior, such as domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, that is generally (though not exclusively) sex-based is also considered Sexual Misconduct under BYU’s policy.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature and can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature whether verbal, nonverbal, or physical. Conduct is unwelcome if the individual toward whom it is directed did not request or invite it and regarded the conduct as undesirable or offensive. A wide variety of sexual conduct may constitute sexual harassment. Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Sexually suggestive or offensive joking, flirting, or comments
- Unwelcome and intentional touching
- Sexually oriented verbal abuse
- Sexually oriented comments about an individual's body
- Displaying objects or pictures that are sexual in nature
- Sending sexually explicit or offensive text messages or other communications
Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment and refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person who has not consented or who is incapable of giving consent. Examples of sexual violence include, but are not limited to, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual abuse.
Domestic violence is a violent crime committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner (or someone similarly situated) or any other person against a victim who is protected from that person’s acts under state domestic or family violence laws.
Dating violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.
Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
How does Title IX relate to sexual assault and Sexual Misconduct?
Sexual Misconduct is a form of sex discrimination prohibited under Title IX and BYU’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. According to the Department of Education’s Dear Colleague letter in 2011, “Education has long been recognized as the great equalizer in America. The U.S. Department of Education and its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) believe that providing all students with an educational environment free from discrimination is extremely important. The sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, interferes with students’ right to receive an education free from discrimination and, in the case of sexual violence, is a crime.” These crimes defined together constitute Sexual Misconduct, which are covered under Title IX.