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What is Sexual Misconduct?

What is Sexual Misconduct?

Sexual misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Sexual misconduct can be committed by a person of any gender identity, and can occur between people of the same or different gender identities. Sexual misconduct is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by federal and state discrimination laws. In addition, some forms of sexual misconduct violate the criminal laws of the State of Illinois. The following offenses are considered “sexual misconduct” and prohibited by the College.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic or physical conduct of a sexual nature, without regard to whether the parties are of the same or different gender when:  

  • Submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or status in a course, program or College-sponsored activity, or is used as the basis for employment or educational decisions affecting that individual (also referred to as “quid pro quo”); or
  • Such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s educational experience or working conditions (also referred to as “hostile environment”).

In considering whether conduct constitutes sexual harassment, the College considers the totality of the circumstances. Some examples of sexual harassment may include attempting to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship, repeatedly subjecting a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention, innuendos or humor, punishing an individual for refusing to comply with a sexual based request, conditioning a benefit on submission to sexual advances, nonconsensual sexual contact or intercourse, bullying based on gender or sex. 

Gender-Based Harassment

Gender-based harassment includes acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on gender, sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature. Use of the term “sexual harassment” includes gender-based harassment/misconduct. 

Sexual Orientation-Based Harassment

Sexual orientation-based harassment includes verbal, non-verbal and physical acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on an individual’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or transsexuality/gender identity. Use of the term “sexual harassment” includes sexual orientation-based and gender identity-based harassment/misconduct.

Non-consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempts to commit the same)

Non-consensual sexual intercourse is any penetration of the sex organs, anus, or mouth of another person when consent is not present or force is used. This includes penetration or intrusion, however slight, by an object or any part of the body, specifically including cunnilingus, fellatio, vaginal intercourse, and anal intercourse.

Non-consensual Sexual Contact (or attempts to commit the same)

Non-consensual sexual contact is the intentional touching or fondling a person’s genitals, breasts, thighs, groin, or buttocks, or any other contact of a sexual nature (including by bodily fluids), when consent is not present or force is used. This includes contact done directly, through clothing, or with an object. It also includes causing or inducing a person, when consent is not present, to similarly touch, fondle, or contact oneself or someone.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another individual(s) for personal benefit, or to benefit anyone other than the individual being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses in this policy. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, invasion of sexual privacy, prostituting another person, non-consensual photographing, video or audio-taping of sexual activity, posting or otherwise distributing or publicizing nude images of another without consent, engaging in voyeurism, knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) to another without disclosing STI status, exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances and/or inducing another to expose their genitals. Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation.

Dating Violence

Dating violence is violence or the threat of violence by another person with whom the individual is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence below.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the individual, by someone with whom the individual shares a child in common, by someone who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the individual as a spouse or intimate partner, by someone similarly situated to a spouse of the individual under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the violence occurred, or any other person against an adult or youth who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the violence occurred. 


Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety (or the safety of a third person) or suffer substantial emotional distress. For purposes of this definition, course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about, a person, or interferes with a person’s property. Examples of stalking include, but are not limited to: 

  • following a person;
  • being or remaining in close proximity to a person;
  • entering or remaining on or near a person’s property, residence, or place of employment;
  • monitoring, observing or conducting surveillance of a person;
  • threatening (directly or indirectly) a person;
  • communicating to or about a person;
  • giving gifts or objects to, or leaving items for, a person;
  • interfering with or damaging a person’s property (including pets); or
  • engaging in other unwelcome contact. 

If you are in an emergency situation, dial 911 for local, non-college law enforcement and medical assistance. You may also dial the College’s Public Safety Department at 847.735.5555 (on-campus at 5555) to connect you to the local police.