The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces, among other statutes, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. Title IX states:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Sexual Assault, Harassment & Student Conduct Code Policy
Title IX Procedures
For information on procedures, please click here: Board of Trustees Policy 402 Title IX Procedures
How we define Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, Sexual Misconduct, Retaliation and Consent
Last Revised: 11/16/98; 11/17/14; 5/18/15, 8/14/2020
Responsible Office: Human Resources
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including sexual assault and sexual violence. Sexual harassment, including sexual assault, can involve persons of the same or opposite sex. Consistent with the law, this policy prohibits two types of sexual harassment:
- Tangible Employment or Educational Action (quid pro quo): This type of sexual harassment occurs when the terms or conditions of employment, educational benefits, academic grades or opportunities, living environment or participation in a University activity are made an explicit or implicit condition of submission to or rejection of unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, or such submission or rejection is a factor in decisions affecting an individual’s employment, education, living environment or participation in a University program or activity. Generally, a person who engages in this type of sexual harassment is an agent or employee with some authority conferred by the University.
- Hostile Environment: Sexual harassment that creates a hostile environment is based on sex and exists when the harassment:
i. Is subjectively and objectively offensive; and
ii. Is so severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of a person’s employment, education or living situation that it creates an abusive working, educational or living environment.
A hostile environment can be created by anyone involved in a University program or activity, such as an administrator, faculty or staff member, student or campus guest. Offensiveness alone is not enough to create a hostile environment. Although repeated incidents increase the likelihood that a hostile environment has been created, a single serious incident, such as a sexual assault, can be sufficient.
Determining whether conduct creates a hostile environment depends not only on whether the conduct was unwelcome to the person who feels harassed, but also whether a reasonable person in a similar situation would have perceived the conduct as objectively offensive. The following factors will also be considered:
a) The degree to which the conduct affected one or more students’ education or individual’s employment;
b) The nature, scope, frequency, duration and location of the incident(s);
c) The identity, number and relationships of persons involved;
d) The nature of higher education.
e) whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
f) whether the conduct altered the conditions of the Complainant’s educational or work performance and/or UMS programs or activities;
g) whether the conduct implicates academic freedom or protected speech; and,
h) other relevant factors that may arise from consideration of the reported facts and circumstances.
Sexual assault means an offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest or statutory rape.
Rape is 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.
Fondling is 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.
Incest is sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
Statutory rape is sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. All forms of sexual assault and sexual contact prohibited by Maine law are also included.
Dating violence is violence committed against a person by an individual who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with that person. Whether a dating relationship exists is determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence. All forms of dating violence prohibited by Maine law are also included (see Assault).
A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed—
(A) By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
(B) By a person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
(C) By a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
(D) By 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
(E) By 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 occurred.
All forms of domestic violence prohibited by Maine law are also included (see Domestic Violence Assault, Domestic Violence Criminal Threatening, Domestic Violence Terrorizing, Domestic Violence Stalking, and Domestic Violence Reckless Conduct).
Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—
(A) Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or
(B) Suffer substantial emotional distress.
(ii) For the purposes of this definition—
(A) Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
(B) Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
(C) Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
Retaliation is action taken by the University or any individual or group against any person for opposing any practices forbidden under this policy or for filing a complaint, testifying, assisting or participating in an investigation or proceeding under this policy. This includes action taken against a bystander who intervened to stop or attempt to stop a violation of this policy. Retaliation includes intimidating, threatening, coercing or in any way discriminating against an individual because of the individual’s complaint or participation. Action is generally deemed retaliatory if it would deter a reasonable person in the same circumstances from opposing practices prohibited by this policy.
Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, prostituting another person, nonconsensual image capturing of sexual activity, presentation or unauthorized viewing of a nonconsensual videotaping of sexual activity, letting others watch you have sex without the knowledge or consent of your sexual partner, possession of child pornography, peeping tommery and/or knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another person. Sexual misconduct may constitute sexual harassment. All forms of sexual misconduct prohibited by Maine law are also included (see Violation of Privacy, Possession of Sexually Explicit Material, and Sex Trafficking).
Consent is a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual contact. Consent must be informed, freely and actively given, and consist of a mutually agreeable and understandable exchange of words or actions. Consent is agreement to engage in sexual contact. Consent must be informed, freely and actively given, and consist of a mutually agreeable and understandable exchange of words or actions. Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Consent may be withdrawn at any time. 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 conditions of) sexual activity. Past consent does not imply future consent. Consent to engage in one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to engage in any other sexual activity. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with any other person.
It is not consent when the exchange involves unwanted physical force, coercion, intimidation and/or threats. If an individual is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired such that one cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation, and the incapacitation or impairment is known or should be known to a reasonable person, there is no consent. This includes conditions resulting from alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious. Consent is not valid if the person is too young to consent to sexual activity under Maine law.