Definitions

Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one of the following criteria is met: submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of the individual's employment or of the individual's status in a program, course, or activity; submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions, a criterion for evaluation, or a basis for academic or other decisions affecting such individual; such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or educational experience, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment. Whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment depends upon the record as a whole and the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature of sexual advances in the context within which the alleged incident occurs. Verbal expressions or written material that is relevant and appropriately related to course subject matter or curriculum may not be considered harassment. Sexual harassment and racial harassment have been held to constitute forms of discrimination prohibited by Title VI, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972. The University may be held liable pursuant to Title VI or Title VII and/or lose federal funds pursuant to Title IX for failure to properly investigate and remedy claims of sexual or racial harassment.

Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (A) Fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress. The feared harm or injury may be to physical, emotional, or mental health, to personal safety, to property, to education, or to employment. Stalking may include, but is not limited to, unwelcomed and repeated visual or physical proximity to a person, repeatedly conveying oral or written threats, extorting money or valuables, implicitly threatening physical conduct, or any combination of these behaviors directed at or toward a person.

Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person: (A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (1) The length of the relationship (2) The type of the relationship (3) The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic Violence: Includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person in cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Rape: Rape is unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or of the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances: (A) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act; (B) The sexual penetration is accomplished without the consent of the victim and the defendant knows or has reason to know at the time of the penetration that the victim did not consent; (C) The defendant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; or (D) The sexual penetration is accomplished by fraud. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-503)

Consent: Consent to engage in sexual activity must exist from beginning to end of each instance of sexual activity. Consent consists of an outward demonstration indicating that someone has freely chosen to engage in sexual activity. In the absence of an outward demonstration, consent does not exist. Consent is informed, knowing, and voluntary. Consent is demonstrated through mutually understandable words and/or actions that clearly indicate a willingness to engage in sexual activity. Consent is not effective if it results from the use of physical force, intimidation, coercion, or incapacitation. If a sexual act is occurring and physical force, intimidation, coercion, or incapacitation develops, there is no longer consent. Prior to engaging in any sexual activity, each participant should ask himself or herself the question "Has the other person consented?" If the answer is "no," or "I'm not sure," then consent has not been demonstrated and does not exist. Silence or the lack of resistance does not demonstrate consent. Relying on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstandings. The responsibility of obtaining consent rests with the person who wishes to engage in sexual activity. Students who initiate sexual activity should be able to explain the basis for their belief that consent existed. Consent to engage in sexual activity may be withdrawn by either party at any time. Withdrawal of consent must also be outwardly demonstrated by words or actions that clearly indicate a desire to end sexual activity. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed, sexual activity must cease. A previous sexual relationship, and/or current relationship with a partner, may not, in themselves, be taken to imply consent. Use of alcohol or drugs shall not diminish one's responsibility to obtain consent, and does not excuse conduct that constitutes sexual misconduct under this policy.

Sexual Misconduct is the overarching term used by the university to identify the conduct that constitutes sexual harassment by individuals or organizations that is prohibited by Title IX. For all individuals who are part of the ETSU community, sexually harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive as to substantially disrupt or undermine a person's ability to participate in or to receive the benefits, services, or opportunities of the university is prohibited when such conduct substantially interferes with an individual's educational performance, or equal access to the college's resources and opportunities; or such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive educational environment. The university recognizes that anyone can be a complainant or respondent regardless of sex, gender, or gender identification.

This policy is utilized by ETSU to comply with Title IX and to respond promptly to reports of potential sexual harassment violations, including sexual violence. Following are definitions based on university Student Disciplinary Policies, Part 2 Disciplinary Offenses, item (v) Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Battery or Rape: Committing any act of sexual battery or rape as defined by state law; May include any sexual act or penetration which is accompanied by threat, coercion, use of restraint or force, or any sexual act where the respondent knows, or should have known, that the victim was unable or incapable of giving consent.

Sexual Battery: (A) Unlawful sexual contact with a victim by the defendant or the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances: (1) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act; (2) The sexual contact is accomplished without the consent of the victim and the defendant knows or has reason to know at the time of the contact that the victim did not consent; (3) The defendant knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; or (4) The sexual contact is accomplished by fraud. (B) As used in this section, "coercion" means the threat of kidnapping, extortion, force or violence to be performed immediately or in the future. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-505)

Consensual Relationships: Intimate relationships between supervisors and their subordinates and between faculty members and students are strongly discouraged due to the inherent inequality of power in such situations. These relationships could lead to undue favoritism or the perception of undue favoritism, abuse of power, compromised judgment or impaired objectivity. Engaging in a consensual relationship with a student over whom the faculty member has either grading, supervisory, or other evaluative authority (i.e., member of dissertation committee, thesis director, etc.) constitutes a conflict of interest. The faculty member must take steps to remove the conflict by assigning a different supervisor to the student; resigning from the student's academic committees; or by terminating the relationship at least while the student is in his/her class. Likewise, it is a conflict of interest for a supervisor to engage in a consensual relationship with a subordinate over whom he or she has evaluative or supervisory authority. The supervisor must take action to resolve the conflict of interest by, for example, assigning another individual to supervise and/or evaluate the subordinate.

Cyber-stalking: A particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used to pursue, harass, or to make unwelcomed contact with another person in an unsolicited fashion. Some examples of cyber-stalking include, but are not limited to, unwelcomed or unsolicited emails, instant messages, and messages on on-line bulletin boards. It also includes, but is not limited to, unsolicited communications about a person, their family, friends, or co-workers, or sending or posting unwelcomed and unsolicited messages with another username.

Harassment: Harassment is conduct that is based on a person's race, color, religion, creed, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age (as applicable), status as a covered veteran, genetic information, or any other category protected by federal or state civil rights law, that adversely affects a term or condition of an individual's employment, education, participation in an institution's activities or living environment: Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's employment or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or abusive environment of the individual; or is used as a basis for or a factor in decisions that tangibly affect that individual's employment, education, participation in an institution's activities or living environment. Not every act that might be offensive to an individual or a group will be considered harassment. (TBR Policy P-O80)

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: Having or attempting to have non-consensual, non-accidental contact of a sexual nature with another person. Sexual contact can include, but is not limited to, touching or kissing another individual.

Sexual Activity: Conduct that occurs with the intent and/or result of arousal. Sexual activity may include, but is not limited to, an act of oral, vaginal, or anal penetration, however slight, with an object or body part, touching or kissing of another individual, or activities that increase sexual arousal.

Sexual Coercion: The use of, or attempt to use, pressure and/or oppressive behavior, such that the application of such pressure or behavior causes the person who is the object of the pressure or behavior to engage in unwelcomed sexual activity. Coercion can take the form of pressure, threats, intimidation, or the use of physical force, either expressed or implied, which places a person in fear of immediate harm or physical injury. Coercion can also take the form of pressure to consume alcohol or other drugs prior to engaging in a sexual act.

Sexual Exploitation: An act or acts attempted or committed by a person for sexual gratification, financial gain, or advancement through the abuse or exploitation of another person's sexuality. Examples include observing individuals without consent, non-consensual audio or video taping of sexual activity, unauthorized presentation of recordings of a sexual nature, prostituting another person, allowing others to observe a personal consensual sexual act without the knowledge or consent of all involved parties, and knowingly exposing an individual to a sexually transmittable infection or virus without his or her knowledge.

Warning Signs of Abusive Behavior – Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships
People in healthy relationships respect each other. They can talk honestly and freely to each other and share power and control over decisions. They trust and support each other and respect each other's independence. In contrast, an unhealthy relationship is unbalanced. One partner (a person in the relationship) tries to control the other. The chart below (from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Choose Respect Campaign) gives multiple examples:

Healthy Relationships Unhealthy Relationships
Equality - Partners share decisions and responsibilities. They discuss roles to make sure they're fair and equal. Control - One partner makes all the decisions and tells the other what to do, or tells the other person what to wear or who to spend time with.
Honesty - Partners share their dreams, fears and concerns with each other. They tell each other how they feel and share important information. Dishonesty - One partner lies to or keeps information from the other. One partner steals from the other.
Physical safety - Partners feel physically safe in the relationship and respect each other's space. Physical abuse - One partner uses force to get his/her way (for example, hitting, slapping, grabbing, shoving).
Respect - Partners treat each other like they want to be treated and accept each other's opinions, friends, and interests. They listen to each other. Disrespect - One partner makes fun of the opinions and interests of the other partner. He or she may destroy something that belongs to the other partner.
Comfort - Partners feel safe with each other and respect each other's differences. They realize when they're wrong and are not afraid to say, "I'm sorry." Partners can "be themselves" with each other. Intimidation - One partner tries to control every aspect of the other's life. One partner may attempt to keep his or her partner from friends and family or threaten violence or a break-up.
Sexual respectfulness - Partners never force sexual activity or insist on doing something the other isn't comfortable with. Sexual abuse - One partner pressures or forces the other into sexual activity against his/her will or without his/her consent.
Independence - Neither partner is dependent upon the other for an identity. Partners maintain friendships outside of the relationship. Either partner has the right to end the relationship. Dependence - One partner feels that he/she "can't live without" the other. He/she may threaten to do something drastic if the relationship ends.
Humor - The relationship is enjoyable for both partners. Partners laugh and have fun. Hostility - One partner may "walk on egg shells" to avoid upsetting the other. Teasing is mean-spirited.

 

*For more definitions, please see ETSU's Sexual Misconduct Policy.
*TN State law definitions:
http://www.tbi.tn.gov/sex_ofender_reg/sex_offender_law_pdfs/Webpage%20SOR%20Definitions.pdf