The University Sexual or Gender-Based
Harassment Policy definition of Gender-Based
Harassment: Gender-Based Harassment includes harassment based
on gender, sexual orientation, transgender, gender non-conforming,
transitioning, gender identity, or gender expression, which may
include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal
or non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, even if the acts do
not involve conduct of a sexual nature, when the conditions outlined
below are present:
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either
explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of a person’s
employment, academic standing, or participation in any University
programs and/or activities or is used as the basis for University
decisions affecting the individual (often referred to as “quid pro
quo” harassment); or,
- Such conduct creates a hostile environment (See below).
Transgender, gender non-conforming, transitioning, gender identity,
and gender expression definitions:
Transgender: An umbrella term that can be used to describe
people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from
their sex assigned at birth.
Gender non-conforming: Describes people who have, or are
perceived to have, gender characteristics and/or behaviors that do
not conform to traditional or societal expectations.
Transition/Transitioning: The process of changing one’s
gender from the sex assigned at birth to one’s gender identity.
Gender Identity: A personal, internal sense of oneself as,
for example, male, female, both, or neither.
Gender Expression: The external appearance of one's gender
identity, or how one represents one's gender through hair style,
clothing, mannerisms, etc.
A “hostile environment” exists when the sexual or
gender-based conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive
that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives an
individual from participating in or benefiting from the University’s
education or employment programs and/or activities.
In evaluating whether a hostile environment exists, the University
will consider the totality of known circumstances, including, but not
- The frequency, nature and severity of the conduct;
- Whether the conduct was physically threatening;
- The effect of the conduct on the Complainant’s mental or emotional state;
- Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person;
- Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory
conduct (see Anti-Harassment Policy);
- Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the Complainant’s
educational or work performance and/or University programs or
- Whether the conduct implicates concerns related to academic
freedom or protected speech
A hostile environment based upon sex or gender can be created by
persistent or pervasive conduct or by a single or isolated incident,
if sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need
there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile
environment, particularly if the conduct is physical; a single
incident of sexual or gender-based harassment, for example, may be
sufficiently severe to constitute a hostile environment. In contrast,
the perceived offensiveness of a single verbal or written expression
standing alone, is typically not sufficient to constitute a hostile environment.