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Washington State University Sexual Misconduct & Discrimination

Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct, and Sexual Harassment

The WSU community is committed to creating and maintaining a campus where all students, faculty, and staff feel safe. Discrimination in all its forms, including discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct (including sexual assault and other sexual violence), destroys mutual respect, can bring substantial personal harm to individuals, and violates individual rights. Such behaviors are not tolerated at WSU.

The Center for Community Standards works in conjunction with the Office of Civil Rights Compliance & Investigation on incidents relating to discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct. 


Discrimination

Discriminatory harassment includes harassment on the basis of race; sex/gender; sexual orientation; gender identity/expression; religion; age; color; creed; national or ethnic origin; physical, mental, or sensory disability (including disability requiring the use of a trained service animal); marital status; genetic information; and/or status as an honorably discharged veteran or member of the military. 

Discrimination is considered sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive when it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment; or when it unreasonably interferes with an individual's work, academic performance, living environment, personal security, or participation in any WSU activity.

Examples of discriminatory behaviors include:

  • Denying someone employment, educational opportunity or benefit because of their gender, race, or disability;
  • Treating individuals differently because of their national origin or age (for example, giving them less advantageous working conditions);
  • Following a practice or policy that disproportionately impacts women or members of another protected class; or
  • Severe, persistent, or pervasive name calling, jokes, or other verbal or physical behavior towards a person based on their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation.

 

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination based on sex and/or gender and encompasses unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual harassment also encompasses “gender-based harassment,” which means harassment of a non-sexual nature that occurs because of a person’s sex and/or gender. It also includes harassment based on a person’s nonconformity with sex and/or gender stereotypes.

Sexual harassment creates a hostile environment when behavior is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough to interfere with an individual’s work or educational performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment. 

Examples of sexual harassment include:

  • Physical assault;
  • Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, work status, promotion, grades, work references, or letters of recommendation (quid pro quo);
  • Sexual behavior that is unwelcome. Such behavior may include, but is not limited to, the following:
    • Comments of a sexual nature;
    • Sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes;
    • Unnecessary or undesirable physical contact;
    • Unwanted, offensive, and/or uninvited comments about another’s physical appearance;
    • Display of pictures with sexual content;
    • Persistent, unwanted attempts to change a professional relationship to an amorous relationship;
    • Subtle propositions for sexual activity or direct propositions of a sexual nature;
    • Uninvited letters, e-mails, telephone calls, or other correspondence referring to or depicting sexual activities; and/or
    • Any of the above carried out via the Internet or social media (“cyber-harassment”).

Other offenses that may constitute sexual harassment when based on sex and/or gender include:

  • Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.
  • Intimidation, which is defined as implied threats or acts that cause a reasonable fear of harm in another.
  • Hazing, as defined in WAC 504-26-206.
  • Bullying or workplace violence, as defined in BPPM 50.30.
  • Intimate partner violence, which includes violence or abusive behavior within an intimate partner relationship. Intimate partner violence may also be referred to as domestic violence or dating violence. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, economic, or psychological in nature and can include actions or threats of actions that influence or harm an intimate partner.
  • Stalking, as defined in WAC 504-26-223.

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct is a form of sexual harassment and includes sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence. A number of acts may be regarded as sexual misconduct including, but not limited to, nonconsensual sexual contact (including sexual intercourse) and sexual exploitation. 

Use of alcohol or other drugs is not a valid defense to a violation of this policy.

Examples of sexual misconduct

  • Force or coercion is threatened or used to gain consent or submission to sexual activity
    • Force is the use of physical violence, physical force, threat, or intimidation to overcome resistance or gain consent to sexual activity.
  • Using blackmail or extortion to overcome resistance or gain consent to sexual activity.
  • Sexual exploitation such as invading another person's sexual privacy, or exposing one's intimate parts in non-consensual circumstances.
  • Knowingly or recklessly exposing another person to a significant risk of sexually transmitted disease or infection.
  • Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying.

 

WSU Transcript Release Policy

For matters where a student is found responsible for violation WSU’s Executive Policy #15, the policy prohibiting discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct, or the conduct is a form of sex and gender based violence, including, but not limited to sexual assault, intimate partner violence, or stalking, and the final order results in suspension or expulsion, the Center for Community Standards will include a letter along with any transcript the student requests be sent directly to a receiving institution. The letter will state that the student was found responsible for  violating the WSU Standards of Conduct for Students, and was dismissed from the University.


Related WAC Guidelines