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Policy on Sexual Harassment

Harassment in any form, whether based on race, sex, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, or any other legally protected classification is unacceptable on the Washington College campus.

For purposes of this policy harassment means unwelcome verbal, written, or physical conduct based on a protected classification (race, color, sex, disability, etc.) that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or education, (including living conditions, extracurricular activities, and social life) creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment, or constituting a threat to an individual’s personal safety. Sexual harassment includes sexual violence/assault.

Policy Statement concerning Sexual Harassment

Washington College will not tolerate sexual harassment in any form. Sexual harassment includes sexual violence/assault/misconduct. The goal of this policy is to create a community free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment committed in connection with any College program, whether on or off campus, is prohibited. This applies to academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, residential, and other College programs. Sexual harassment may be a violation of state and federal laws as well as a violation of this policy. Individuals who feel they have been sexually harassed may have the right to bring legal action, in addition to making a complaint to the College. Legal action and an internal complaint can be pursued at the same time. Sexual harassment includes sexual violence/assault. Retaliation against an individual who brings a complaint, participates in an investigation of sexual harassment, or pursues legal action is prohibited.

The essential importance of academic freedom is recognized and a standard of reasonableness will guide the College. Only when academic freedom is used to disguise, or as the vehicle for, prohibited conduct will it be questioned.

Washington College believes that ideas, creativity, and free expression thrive and, indeed, can only exist for students, faculty, and staff in an atmosphere free of sexual harassment and assault.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors (including when submission to or rejection of such conduct is a condition or basis for employment or educational decisions), or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with one’s academic or work performance or working, educational, or living environment by creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or violent environment.

Sexual violence/assault is also considered sexual harassment. Most notably, the final regulations redefine sexual harassment under Title IX to include the following three categories:

  1. Quid Pro Quo Harassment: instances where a school employee conditions education benefits on participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; or
  2. Unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denied a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity; or
  3. Sexual assault, as defined in the Clery Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), and dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as defined in the Violence Against Women Act, 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a).

Examples of Sexual Harassment:

  • Action of an individual in a position of institutional power or authority who misuses that position to subject an individual to unwanted sexual attention of either a verbal or physical nature when that conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s employment or academic status.
  • Demanding sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt threats or promises concerning grades, recommendations, or evaluations.
  • Inappropriate sexual conduct that interferes with an individual’s work performance or educational experience by creating an uncomfortable environment. This prohibition applies to all relationships at the institution between members of the College community.
  • Inappropriate conduct against an individual that interferes with an individual’s work performance or educational experience by creating an environment that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, that would not occur but for the sex of the individual.

Consensual Relationships

Washington College policies prohibit unreciprocated and unwelcome relationships. However, persons in positions of power, authority, and control over others should be aware of and sensitive to problems that may arise from mutual relationships that are inherently unequal. Individuals in these situations are urged to examine such relationships before engaging in them, especially in terms of emotional health, self-esteem, and respect for the freedom of others.

Apparently consensual sexual relationships, particularly those between individuals of unequal status, may be or become a violation of this policy. Anyone who engages in a sexual relationship with a person over whom he or she has any degree of power or authority must understand that the validity of the consent involved can and may be questioned. The College particularly abhors the abuse potentially inherent in sexual relationships between faculty members and students and between staff supervisors and their student employees.

Consensual Relationship Policy.

Supportive Measures

The Title IX Coordinator or 504 ADA Coordinator will determine, with campus administrators, the appropriate interim measures to be taken during an investigation or inquiry.
Supportive remedial actions can include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • No contact orders are permitted when an individualized safety and risk analysis determines there is an imminent threat to the physical health or safety of a student or employee.
  • Interim suspension
  • Administrative leave (employee)
  • Reassignment of housing
  • Reassignment of job
  • Class schedule change
  • Prohibited or restricted participation in extracurricular activities
  • Prohibited or restricted access to campus for third parties
  • Relocation of a residential assignment

Federal Law: no-cost measures designed to restore equal access to education or restore campus safety:

  • Must be offered to complainant upon receipt of actual knowledge
  • Must be non-burdensome to respondent

Maryland Law: more specific measures must be offered:

  • Notifying victim of their right to file criminal charges and assisting with filing
  • Designation of nearest SAFE hospital and transportation
  • Offer campus counseling or referral to designated Rape Crisis Center
  • If feasible and upon request, transfer complainant’s classes or housing