Princeton University Prohibited Conduct

1.3.3 Prohibited Conduct

In determining whether alleged conduct violates this policy, the University will consider the totality of the facts and circumstances involved in the incident, including the nature of the alleged conduct and the context in which it occurred. Any of the prohibited conduct defined in this policy can be committed by individuals of any gender, and it can occur between individuals of the same gender or different genders. It can occur between strangers or acquaintances, as well as people involved in intimate or sexual relationships.

1. Sex Discrimination

Sex discrimination is adverse treatment of an individual based on sex or gender, rather than individual merit. Sex discrimination encompasses sexual misconduct but also includes other discriminatory behavior that does not constitute sexual misconduct. Examples of conduct that can constitute sex discrimination because of sex, gender identity, or gender expression include but are not limited to:

  • Singling out or targeting an individual for different or adverse treatment (e.g., more severe discipline, lower salary increase);
  • Failing or refusing to hire or allow participation by an individual in a University activity; or
  • Terminating or removing an individual from employment or an educational program

2. Sexual Misconduct

The following behaviors constitute sexual misconduct and are prohibited under this policy. All forms of sexual misconduct are serious offenses and will result in University disciplinary consequences. Sexual misconduct involving force, duress, or inducement of incapacitation, or where the perpetrator has deliberately taken advantage of another person’s state of incapacitation, will be deemed especially egregious and may result in expulsion, or termination of employment. The consumption of alcohol or the use of illegal substances does not constitute a mitigating circumstance when it contributes to a violation regarding sexual misconduct.

Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration (commonly referred to as rape): Any act of vaginal or anal penetration by a person’s penis, finger, other body part, or an object, or oral penetration by a penis, without consent.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (commonly referred to as sexual assault): Any sexual touching other than non-consensual sexual penetration without consent. Examples of non-consensual sexual contact may include: genital-genital or oral-genital contact not involving penetration; contact with breasts, buttocks, or genital area, including over clothing; removing the clothing of another person; and kissing.

Sexual Exploitation: Any act whereby one person violates the sexual privacy of another or takes unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another who has not provided consent, and that does not constitute non-consensual sexual penetration or non-consensual sexual contact. Examples may include: recording, photographing, transmitting, viewing, or distributing intimate or sexual images or sexual information without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; voyeurism (i.e., spying on others who are in intimate or sexual situations).

Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome verbal or physical behavior which is directed at a person based on sex, gender identity or gender expression, when these behaviors are sufficiently severe and/or pervasive to have the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s educational experience, working conditions, or living conditions by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Examples of conduct that can constitute sexual harassment if based on an individual’s sex, gender identity or gender expression include but are not limited to:

  • Unwelcome jokes or comments (e.g., sexist jokes);
  • Disparaging remarks about sex, gender identity, or gender expression (e.g., negative or offensive remarks or jokes about a person’s self-presentation)
  • Displaying negative or offensive posters or pictures about sex, gender, or gender expression;
  • Electronic communications, such as e-mail, text messaging, and Internet use, that violate this policy.

Sexual Harassment is deemed especially serious when submission to or rejection of such conduct is made implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in any University activity or benefit; or submission to or rejection of these behaviors by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions.

Inappropriate Conduct Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression: Unwelcome or inappropriate conduct that does not fall under other forms of sexual misconduct, but that is sexual and/or gender-based in nature. Examples may include public sex acts or flashing.

3. Other Prohibited Behaviors

The following behaviors are also prohibited under this policy.

Intimate Relationship Violence (also known as dating violence or intimate partner violence): Acts of violence, threat or intimidation that harm or injure a partner in a current or former intimate relationship (defined below). These acts may be physical, emotional/psychological, sexual, or economic in nature. Intimate relationship violence can be a single act or pattern of behavior.

Domestic Violence in the Context of Intimate Relationships: A particular type of intimate relationship violence that occurs when partners in a current or former intimate relationship are or have been cohabiting in the same space.

Stalking: A course of conduct (i.e., more than one act) that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear, to experience emotional distress, or to fear for the safety of a third person. Acts that together constitute stalking may be direct actions or may be communicated by a third party, and can include, but are not limited to: threats of harm to self or others; pursuing or following; non-consensual (unwanted) communication by any means; unwanted gifts; trespassing; and surveillance or other types of observation.

Retaliation: Any attempt to seek retribution against an individual or group of individuals involved in filing a complaint or report under this policy, filing an external complaint, participating in a disciplinary process, or opposing in a reasonable manner an action or policy believed to constitute a violation of this policy. Retaliation can take many forms, including abuse or violence, threats, and intimidation. Actions in response to a good faith report or response under this policy are considered retaliatory if they have a materially adverse effect on the working, academic or University-controlled living environment of an individual; or if they hinder or prevent the individual from effectively carrying out their University responsibilities. Any individual or group of individuals can engage in retaliation and will be held accountable under this policy.

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