What is Sexual Misconduct?

What is sexual misconduct?

Sexual misconduct is a term that collectively identifies any acts of unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that occurs without consent: sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, dating violence, voyeurism, sex discrimination, domestic violence, and any other conduct of a sexual nature that is nonconsensual.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is sexual contact without consent. More specifically, “sexual assault” for purposes of this policy means any of the forms of criminal sexual conduct described in Sections 520b through 520g of the Michigan Penal Code (MCL 750.520b - .520g) involving a University student as the complainant and/or respondent. Sexual assault consists of sexual intercourse without consent, forcible sodomy or sexual penetration with an inanimate object, the intentional touching of an unwilling individual’s intimate parts (defined as genitalia, groin, pelvic region, inner thigh, breast or buttocks, or clothing covering them), or forcing an unwilling individual to touch another’s intimate parts. These acts must be committed either by force, threat, intimidation, or by taking advantage of someone’s helplessness or inability to consent of which the alleged perpetrator was aware or should have been aware. Regardless of the relationship that exists between the parties, if consent is not given or force or coercion is used against a party, any sexual contact is within the definitions of criminal sexual contact and sexual assault.

What is sex discrimination?

Sex discrimination is the treatment of someone unfavorably or less favorably because of that person’s sex.  Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or because of sexual orientation is a violation of Title VII.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or visual communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. Submission to such conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of obtaining employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing.
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting such individual's employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing.
  3. Such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with or creating an intimidating or hostile environment in an individual's employment, public accommodations, public services, education, or housing.

There are two main types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment. Quid pro quo means "this for that." This occurs when a promotion, employment benefit, or education benefit is directly tied to an unwelcome sexual advance. Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when verbal, non-verbal and/or physical conduct is:

  • sexual and/or based on sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation (actual or perceived),
  • unwelcome, and sufficiently severe and pervasive to interfere with a person's work/learning/program performance or to create a hostile, intimidating or offensive environment.


What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence, also called Intimate Partner Violence, Dating Violence, and Domestic Partner Violence includes any act of violence or threatened act of violence against an individual who is or has been involved in a sexual, dating, domestic or other intimate relationship with the respondent.  Intimate partner violence may involve one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior.  It may take the form of threats, assault, violence, or threat of violence to family members or friends of the intimate partner. In Michigan, the term domestic is defined at MCL 764.15a and includes the spouse or former spouse of a victim, a person who resides or has resided in the same household as the victim, has a common child with the victim, or has had a dating relationship with the victim.


What is stalking?

Stalking is a course of physical or verbal conduct directed at another individual in a manner that could be reasonably regarded as likely to alarm, harass, or cause fear of harm or injury to that individual or a third party.  It includes the persistent imposition of unwanted contacts with another person. A course of conduct consists of at least two acts. The fear of harm or injury may be physical, emotional, or psychological or related to the personal safety, property, education, or employment of that individual. Stalking may include cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking where electronic media or electronic devices are used to track or contact individuals.


What is voyeurism?

Voyeurism is the practice of obtaining sexual gratification by looking at sexual objects or acts, especially secretively.  In Michigan, voyeurism includes using devices for observing, recording, photographing or eavesdropping in private places. See MCL 750.539d.