Office Of Social Equity

West Chester University

13/15 University Avenue
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2433
Fax: 610-436-3164


What is Sexual Misconduct?

The Sexual Misconduct Policy at West Chester University Covers a variety of acts that are perpetuated against another without consent or when an individual is unable to give consent freely. Anyone can be a victim regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following prohibited behaviors:

  • Sexual Harassment

  • Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other harassing conduct of a sexual nature whether intentional or not. Sexual harassment occurs when:

    • Submission to the unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or status in a course, program, or activity; or
    • Submission to or rejection of the unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature by an individual is used as the basis for an academic or employment-related decision affecting such an individual; or
    • The unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive as to substantially limit or interfere an individual’s work, educational performance, participation in extra-curricular activities, or equal access to the University resources and opportunities; or
    • Such contact creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive living, working or educational environment.
    • Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment. Sexual violence refers to physical acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs, alcohol, or disability. Physical sexual acts include rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.

    Example: Jose is a first-year student. From the first week classes began, Jose has felt uncomfortable about the way the male graduate assistant, Matt, stares at him. When he tries to make an appointment to discuss his work, the graduate assistant tells him that he has a large amount of paper to grade and the only time he has to see him is at his own apartment that evening. The graduate assistant tells Jose that if he really wants to do well in this course, he should get to know Matt better and go out on a date with him.

    This is an example of sexual harassment. Matt implies to Jose that in order to do well in the course, it would be best to get to know Matt better and go out on a date with him.

    Example: Quinn, a student, depends on her work-study job to stay in school. One Friday afternoon, she was working alone with her supervisor. Quinn’s boss proceeds to put his arm around her and invites her to come to his place. This is the fourth time her boss has asked her to come to his place. Quinn leaves the job abruptly and does not go back to work. She now is struggling to find a new job to help pay her expenses.

    This is an example of sexual harassment. Quinn feels uncomfortable going to her job because of her boss’ physical touching and invitation to go to his home.

  • Sexual Assault

  • Sexual assault is any type of sexual conduct or contract that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.

    Non-consensual sexual contact is

    • any intentional sexual touching,
    • however slight,
    • with any object or body part,
    • by a person of any gender or sexual orientation,
    • that is without consent.

    Non-consensual sexual penetration is

    • any sexual penetration (anal, oral, vaginal),
    • however slight,
    • with any object or body part,
    • by a person of any gender or sexual orientation,
    • that is without consent.

    Example: Jane goes out to a few parties with friends on a Friday night. She returns back to her residence hall with her roommate. Her friend Jake stops by and jokes with Jane that he has never seen her this intoxicated, Jake then tries to kiss her but Jane pulls away. Jake says that he was just joking and leaves to go back to his room. Sometime during the night, Jake comes back to Jane’s room and crawls into bed with her. Jane is passed out from drinking and does not hear Jake come in. Jake tries to wake Jane up and she rolls over. Jake then proceeds to try to have sexual intercourse with Jane. Jane does not wake up while Jake is having sex with her and he leaves her room after 15 minutes. In the morning Jane is unsure why her pajamas have been removed.

    This is an example of sexual assault. Jane was not able to give consent to the sexual intercourse with Jake.

  • Sexual Exploitation

  • Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or unjust sexual advantages of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit another person other than the one being exploited.

    Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to,

    • non-consensual video, photographing, or audio-taping of sexual activity;
    • non-consensual distribution of a video, photograph, or sound recording of sexual activity;
    • non-consensual photographing of nudity;
    • non-consensual distribution of a nude photograph;
    • going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
    • engaging in peeping or indecent exposure;
    • inducing incapacitation through alcohol or drugs in order to sexually assault another person (whether or not sexual contact actually takes place); an example could include spiking someone’s drink.

    Example: Max and Sean are roommates in a residence hall and go out to a party together. Max meets Jo at the party and they start to hit it off. Max invites Jo back to his room and Jo agrees. Max asks Sean for the room for the night and Sean agrees to stay in a friend’s room across the hall, but not before returning to the room he shares with Max and turning on the video camera on his laptop. Sean ends up recording consensual sex between Max and Jo and posts it on the internet to show some of his friends.

    This is an example of sexual exploitation. Max and Jo were videotaped without their knowledge and did not consent to the videotaping. They also did not consent to the distribution of the video.

  • Stalking

  • Stalking is defined as a course of conduct of unwanted behavior directed at another person. Cyberstalking is another form of stalking where a person engages in a course of conduct using the internet, e-mail, or other electronic communication devices to pursue or track another person.

    Stalking can include

    • unwanted telephone calls
    • unwanted letters, e-mails, or other forms of communication/messaging
    • unwanted or threatening gifts
    • pursuing or following a person without his or her consent
    • unwanted appearances at a person’s place of residence, school, or work
    • surveillance or other types of observation
    • use of electronic devices or software to track or obtain private information

    Example: Shantay is in her third year of college. In one of her classes, the professor assigns a group project and tells each person to share their name and contact information such as email address and cell phone number to keep in contact throughout the semester. However, one of her group members, named Sam starts to contact Shantay daily asking what she is up to, who she is with, and what kind of guys she is into. This group member even shows up at events she attends on campus, even when they are not invited. Whenever she is in class or has to meet with her group, she cannot help but feel awkward and uncomfortable being in close proximately with him. It also inhibits her ability to focus on tasks at hand.

    This is an example of stalking. Shantay is receiving unwelcome messages and visits from Sam on a regular basis and it is affecting her academic work.

  • Dating Violence

  • Dating violence is defined as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship; the type of relationship; the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

    Example: Alex and Angel are both sophomores and have been dating for about six months. They go out regularly with their friends and have enjoyed dates in their college town together. Alex knows that Angel can be the jealous type but Angel has never acted in a way that has worried Alex. Recently, Alex and Angel got into a fight and Alex thought it might be helpful for two of them to take a break from their relationship. When Alex approaches Angel about the possibility of taking a break Angel slaps Alex across the face and pushes Alex to the ground. Angel tells Alex that, “No one else will have you.” Alex becomes very afraid of Angel and does not feel like going to class or leaving the residence halls.

    This is an example of dating violence. Alex is in a romantic relationship with someone who committed violence against him.

  • Domestic Violence

  • Domestic violence is defined as violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse or someone similarly situated to a spouse, or by any other person from whom the victim is protected under the domestic or family violence laws.

    Example: Lana and James are married and both are currently working on graduate degrees. They have been married for about two years and seem to have a healthy relationship. During finals week, Lana is under a lot of stress to finish her thesis and James is out late one night finishing up a lab for one of his classes. Lana thinks that James is out late because he is cheating on her. When he arrives home from the lab Lana starts slapping and punching him, asking him where he has been all night. James tries to explain but Lana gives him a bloody lip and black eye as he tries to calm her down. James is unsure what to do next.

    This is an example of domestic violence. James is a relationship with his current spouse who has committed a violent act against him.