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What Is Sexual Misconduct?

Sexual Misconduct is 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. The College prohibits the following specific conduct (defined below): 

  1. Sexual Harassment;
  2. Sexual Assault;
  3. Dating Violence;
  4. Domestic Violence; 
  5. Stalking;
  6. Retaliation

Other conduct that is not specifically listed but has the essential elements of being based on sex or gender; is nonconsensual, or has the effect of threatening, intimidating, or coercing a person will be treated as Prohibited Conduct. 


1. Sexual Harassment

“Sexual harassment” is an umbrella term which encompasses any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or acts, or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, physical, graphic, or otherwise. 

Sexual Harassment is conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  1. Quid Pro Quo Harassment. An employee of the College conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the College on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.
  2. Hostile Environment. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the College’s education program or activity.
  3. Incidents of Sexual Assault; Dating Violence; Domestic Violence; or Stalking (all further defined in the following points).  

Covenant College strictly prohibits its faculty members, supervisors, and other employees from implying or suggesting that a student's submission to, or refusal to submit to, sexual advances or participation in sexual conduct is a condition of a grade, admission to a program, favorable recommendation, promotion, continued employment, or other educational decision.  

Sexual harassment further includes unwanted touching or intimacy, insulting or degrading sexual remarks or conduct, epithets, sexual jokes, sexually oriented emails or messages, slurs or negative stereotyping based on gender, and the posting or display of sexually offensive or degrading materials on campus or any property owned by the College, or at any College‐related function.   


2. Sexual Assault 

“Sexual Assault” means an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v).


Sex Offenses

Any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.

  1. Fondling - The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
  2. Incest - Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
  3. Rape - The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
  4. Sexual Assault with an Object - To use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
  5. Statutory Rape - Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

Further explanations of force, consent, and incapacitation are under the sections entitled “What is Consent?”


3. Dating Violence 

“Dating Violence” includes violence by a person who has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. Whether there was such a relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.


4. Domestic Violence 

“Domestic Violence” is violence committed by:  (1) a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; (2) a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; (3) a person who is cohabiting with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; (4) a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred; or (5) 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 in which the crime of violence has occurred.  


5. Stalking 

“Stalking” occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. 

Cyber-stalking is 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.   


6. Retaliation 

Retaliation includes adverse action taken against a person for making a good faith report of Prohibited Conduct or participating in any proceeding under this Policy. Adverse action includes conduct that threatens, intimidates, harasses, coerces or in any other way seeks to discourage a reasonable person from seeking protection under this Policy. Retaliation can be committed by or against any individual or group of individuals, not just a Respondent or Complainant. Retaliation does not include good faith actions lawfully pursued in response to a report of Prohibited Conduct. An individual reporting Prohibited Conduct is entitled to protection from any form of retaliation following a report that is made in good faith, even if the report is later not proven. 

Covenant College prohibits reprisals or retaliation against any person for:

  1. alleging or complaining about discrimination or harassment,
  2. for filing an internal complaint of discrimination or harassment, or
  3. for filing an agency action or lawsuit alleging discrimination or harassment, or
  4. for participating in a harassment investigation.

Any person who retaliates against a complainant will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment (employee), and expulsion (student). 

Complaints of retaliation should be reported in the same manner as complaints of discrimination or harassment. 


Sexual Exploitation 

“Sexual Exploitation” occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited.  Sexual Exploitation is misconduct that is covered by the Standards of Conduct. Examples of Sexual Exploitation include, but are not limited to: 

  • secretly observing or recording another individual's nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all individuals involved; 
  • non-consensual sharing or streaming of images, photography, video, or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity of the person being exploited, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all individuals involved;
  • exposing one's genitals or causing another to expose their own genitals in non-consensual circumstances; 
  • knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted infection without their knowledge;
  • Inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.

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