Definitions - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Sex- and gender-based discrimination: Unfairly treating an individual or group of individuals differently than others on the basis of sex or gender.  Sexual misconduct is a form of sex- and gender-based discrimination.   

Sexual misconduct: Conduct of a sexual nature or conduct based on sex or gender that is nonconsensual or has the effect of threatening, intimidating, or coercing a person. Includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, relationship violence, and stalking.  Sexual misconduct is a form of sex- and gender-based discrimination.   

Sexual harassment: In the employment context, sexual harassment is unwelcome, sex- or gender-based verbal or physical conduct that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. 

In the education context, sexual harassment is unwelcome, sex- or gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it interferes with, denies, or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from HUC-JIR’s educational programs and activities.

It can take two forms: power differentials (quid pro quo) or hostile environment:

Quid pro quo sexual harassment exists when:

  • There are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature; and
  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic status; or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions adversely affecting such individual.

Hostile environment in the employment context includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Hostile environment in the education context includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that limits, interferes with, or denies educational benefits or opportunities, from both a subjective (the complainant’s) and an objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint.

  • The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” is based on a totality of circumstances. These circumstances may include:
  • The degree to which the conduct interfered with the complainant’s educational or work performance;
  • The type, frequency, and duration of the conduct;
  • The identity of and relationship between the accused and the complainant(s);
  • The number of individuals involved;
  • The age and sex of the accused and the complainant(s);
  • The location of the incident(s) and the context in which it occurred;
  • The nature and severity of the conduct;
  • Whether the conduct was physically threatening;
  • Whether the conduct was humiliating;
  • The effect of the conduct on the complainant’s mental or emotional state;
  • Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
  • Whether the speech or conduct deserves the protections of academic freedom or the first amendment.
  • A single or isolated incident of sexual harassment (e.g., rape) may be severe enough to create a hostile environment.

All such acts of sexual harassment are forms of sexual misconduct under this policy.   

Sexual violence: Sexual acts perpetrated against an individual’s will or when an individual is incapable of giving consent.

All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sexual misconduct under this policy.   

Sexual assault:  Any forced or coerced sexual activity, committed against a person’s will or without affirmative consent. Rape is a sexual assault that includes but is not limited to forcing or attempting to force vaginal, anal, and oral penetration. In addition to rape, sexual assault also includes having or attempting to have sexual contact of any kind with another individual without affirmative consent. Sexual contact can include, but is not limited to, kissing, touching the intimate parts of another, causing the other to touch one’s intimate parts, or disrobing another without permission or affirmative consent. Rape and sexual assault are crimes of violence with sex used as a weapon that can be committed by strangers, friends, relatives, dates, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, lovers and/or spouses.   

Non-consensual sexual contact:  Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any body part or object, by any individual upon another that is without consent and/or by force or coercion.

Sexual contact includes: intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts or object, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth, or other orifice. 

Non-consensual Sexual Penetration:  Any sexual penetration, however slight, with any body part or object, by any individual upon another that is without consent and/or by force or coercion.  Sexual penetration includes: vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact); no matter how slight the penetration or contact. 

Sexual exploitation:  Occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for that individual’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the individual being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual violence offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, and are not limited to:

Engaging in voyeurism;

Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals;

Going beyond the boundaries of consent (e.g., letting others hide in a closet to watch you having consensual sex);

Invasion of sexual privacy;

Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) to another;

Non-consensual pictures, video-, or audio-recording of sexual activity;

Possession, use, and/or distribution of alcohol or other drug (e.g., Rohypnol, Ketamine, GHB, Burundanga, etc.) for the purpose of engaging in or facilitating any activity prohibited under this policy;

Prostituting another.

All such acts of sexual exploitation are forms of sexual violence, and therefore sexual misconduct, under this policy.    

Domestic violence: Conduct that would meet the definition of a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by the complainant’s current or former spouse or intimate partner, a person with whom the complainant shares a child in common, a person who is or has cohabitated with the complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, or individual similarly situated to a spouse under domestic or family violence law, or anyone else protected under the domestic or family violence law of the jurisdiction in which the offense occurred. An individual need not be charged with or convicted of a criminal offense to be found responsible for domestic violence pursuant to this policy.   

Dating violence: Violence or threat of violence by an individual who has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant. Whether there was such relationship will be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length and type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction of the persons involved in the relationship.   

Stalking: Stalking includes repeated conduct involving unwanted attention, harassment, physical or verbal contact, or any other repeated conduct that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety (or the safety of others) or suffer substantial emotional distress. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, making unwelcome appearances at another’s residence; unwelcome contact via phone calls, text messages, or emails; and/or unwelcome contact through various internet or social media avenues (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.).     

Consent: Permission that is clear, knowing, voluntary, and expressed prior to engaging in and during an act. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.

  • Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
  • Consent may be withdrawn at any time.
  • Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts; this includes “blanket” consent (i.e., permission in advance for any/all actions at a later time/place).
  • Consent cannot be given by an individual who one knows to be – or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be – substantially impaired (e.g., by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness, or blackout, etc.).
    • Substantial impairment is a state when an individual cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because she/he lacks the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction).
    • This also covers individuals whose substantial impairment results from other physical or mental conditions including mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the consumption of alcohol or other drugs.
    • Being impaired by alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this policy.
    • An individual cannot consent who has been coerced, including being compelled by force, threat of force, or deception; who is unaware that the act is being committed; or who is coerced by a supervisory or disciplinary authority.    

Title IX Coordinator: The designated college official with primary responsibility for coordinating the HUC-JIR’s compliance with Title IX. This individual provides leadership for Title IX activities; offers consultation, education, and training; and helps to ensure that HUC-JIR responds appropriately, effectively, and equitably to all Title IX issues.  

Indecent Exposure:  Indecent exposure includes the intentional exposure of one’s private or intimate parts of the body or engaging in any sexual conduct in a place where the conduct involved may reasonably be expected to be viewed by and affront others.