An understanding of the terms associated with this policy is essential. Sexual misconduct is the umbrella term used in this policy to describe a broad range of behaviors prohibited by law and under this policy. Sexual misconduct includes the following behaviors which, if alleged, will be reviewed under the University's investigation and resolution process for sexual misconduct complaints, which is outlined under Section X of this policy.

Under this policy, Sexual Misconduct includes:

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for favors, and other forms of verbal, physical or electronic behavior of a sexual nature. Specific examples of sexual harassment include but are not limited to: touching of a sexual nature; making sexual comments, jokes or gestures; writing graffiti or displaying sexually explicit drawings, pictures or written materials; calling others by sexually charged names; spreading sexual rumors; rating students on sexual performance; circulating or creating e-mails, websites or other forms of social media of a sexual nature.

A hostile environment is created when sexually harassing conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive, with the result that the behavior unreasonably interferes with or limits someone's ability to take advantage of the University's educational programs and activities.

A single or isolated incident of harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. Anyone can be a victim and harassment that occurs between members of the same sex will be treated the same as that between members of different sexes. 

Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated without consent or against a person's will; where a person is incapable of giving consent, for example because of the use of drugs or alcohol or due to an intellectual or other disability; and through coercion or force. The concept of consent is explored more fully later in this policy. Sexual assault takes two forms:

  • Non-consensual intercourse/penetration
    Engaging or attempting to engage in any sexual intercourse with another person without effective consent. Intercourse includes acts of oral, vaginal, or anal penetration, however slight, by an object or body part.
  • Non-consensual contact
    Engaging, or attempting to engage in any touching or contact, however slight, of a sexual nature without effective consent. Includes but is not limited to kissing, and other intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin or genitals or touching another with any of these body parts, or forcing another to touch you or themselves with any of these body parts.

Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of Pennsylvania, or 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.

Dating Violence
Dating violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim and where the existence of such a relationship is determined based on consideration of the following factors: 1) length of the relationship, 2) the type of relationship and 3) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Occurs when a student takes a non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own benefit, or to benefit of anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples include but are not limited to: invasion of sexual privacy; non-consensual video or audio recording of sexual activity; knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease; sexting or public distribution of images of a sexual nature without another's consent.

Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to; fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; suffer substantial emotional distress; and/or that creates a hostile environment.

Cyber-stalking is a particular type of stalking in which electronic media (the internet, social media and networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact) are used to pursue, harass, or to make unwelcome contact with another person.

Retaliation Is behavior to seek revenge or retribution against any individual who makes or is connected to the bringing forward of allegations of harassment or discrimination. Delaware Valley University has a zero-tolerance policy for retaliatory behaviors which will be addressed with severity.

The act of contributing to, assisting with or facilitating behavior in violation of the policies set forward in this document.

Gender-based harassment
As distinguished from sexual harassment, is the harassment of any individual or group within the university based on gender identity, or sexual orientation, whether or not such acts involve physical conduct that is sexual in nature. Gender-based harassment may include but not be limited to verbal or nonverbal acts, physical aggression, or intimidation.

False reporting
Falsely reporting and/or falsely accusing an individual of sexual harassment or any of the behaviors under the umbrella of that definition is a serious violation of policy. Intentionally providing false/and or inaccurate information regarding an allegation of prohibited conduct under this policy is considered serious misconduct. Good faith reports for which a respondent is not found to be responsible is not considered false reporting.