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What is Sexual Harassment?

The Department of Education's Title IX Final Rule, published in May 2020, updates the legal definition of sexual harassment that applies on university campuses nationwide.

The Department of Education Title IX Final Rule defines sexual harassment broadly to include any of three types of misconduct on the basis of sex, all of which jeopardize the equal access to education that Title IX is designed to protect:

(1) Any instance of "Quid Pro Quo" harassment by a school's employee (Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employee [faculty or staff member] conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on the complainant’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct);

(2) Any unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would find so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it denies a person equal educational access; or

(3) Any instance of sexual assault (as defined in the Clery Act), dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).