Glossary of Sexual Misconduct Terms

Queensborough Community College

The following behaviors constitute Sexual Misconduct prohibited under the City University of New York's Policy on Sexual Misconduct:

  1. 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. Dating violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior, based on the frequency, nature, and severity of the conduct. Dating violence includes the threat of sexual assault or physical abuse. The existence of such a relationship is determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (1) The length of the relationship; (2) The type of relationship and (3) The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. A relationship may be romantic or intimate regardless of whether the relationship was sexual in nature.

  2. Domestic Violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim by a person with whom the victim shares a child, 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 applicable domestic or family violence laws, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under applicable domestic or family violence laws. Domestic violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior, based on the frequency, nature, and severity of the conduct.

  3. Sexual Assault: Contact is any sexual contact, including sexual touching for the purpose of sexual gratification of either party or degrading or abusing such person, without a person's consent. Sexual touching includes contact under or over clothing with another person's anus, breasts, buttocks, genitals, groin or inner thigh; touching another person anywhere with any of these body parts; making another person touch any of these body parts under or over clothing; or the emission of ejaculate on the clothing or body of another person.

  4. Sexual Assault: Penetration is any form of vaginal, anal, or oral penetration or attempted penetration, however slight, by a penis, object, tongue, or finger without a person's consent. This term includes incest and statutory rape.

  5. Sexual Harassment is unwelcome verbal or physical behavior based on a person's sex (including sexual orientation, gender, gender expression and gender identity, including transgender status). Conduct is considered “unwelcome” if the individual did not request or invite it and considered the conduct to be undesirable or offensive. This includes unwelcome conduct when: (1) a CUNY employee conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of CUNY on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (quid pro quo); and/or (2) such conduct alters the conditions of, or has the effect of interfering with, an individual's educational or work experience by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment (hostile environment). The effect will be evaluated based on the perspective of a reasonable person in the position of a complainant. While it is not possible to list all circumstances that might constitute Sexual Harassment, the following are some examples of conduct that might constitute such harassment:

    1. Suggestive body language or inappropriate or unwelcome physical contact that does not qualify as Sexual Assault: Contact;

    2. Verbal abuse or offensive comments of a sexual nature, including sexual slurs, persistent or pervasive sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes or anecdotes, degrading words regarding sexuality or gender, suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations;

    3. Making lewd or sexual comments about an individual's appearance, body, or clothing;

    4. Visual displays or distribution of sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials;

    5. Undue and unwanted attention, such as repeated inappropriate flirting, staring, or making sexually suggestive gestures; or

    6. Offensive comments regarding a person's sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, such as persistent mocking or disparagement of a person based on a perceived lack of stereotypical masculinity or femininity.

  6. Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: (1) fear for their safety or the safety of others or (2) suffer substantial emotional distress. This Policy addresses stalking that is based on sex (including sexual orientation, gender, gender expression and gender identity, including transgender status). All other stalking will be addressed under other applicable policies.

  7. Title IX Sexual Harassment is a subset of the broader definition of Sexual Harassment above. It is defined by the USDOE to mean conduct on the basis of sex7that occurs in CUNY's education program or activity against a person in the United States and that satisfies one or more of the following: (1) a CUNY employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of CUNY on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; (2) unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to CUNY's education program or activity; or(3) Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, or Stalking as defined in this Policy.

  8. Voyeurism is unlawful surveillance and includes acts that violate a person's right to privacy in connection with their body and/or sexual activity such as:

    1. Viewing another person's sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person's consent.

    2. Recording images (e.g. video, photograph) or audio of another person's sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person's consent;

    3. Disseminating images (e.g. video, photograph) or audio of another person's sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, if the individual distributing the images or audio knows or should have known that the person depicted in the images or audio did not consent to such disclosure; or

    4. Using or installing, or permitting the use or installation of a device for the purpose of recording another person's sexual activity, intimate body parts or nakedness in a place where the person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy without that person's consent.


Other important terms and concepts addressed in this Policy:

  1. Consent means affirmative consent.

  2. Affirmative Consent is a knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

    1. Consent to any sexual actor prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.

    2. In order to give consent, one must be of legal age (17 years or older in New York).

    3. Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

    4. Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if the individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.

    5. Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.

    6. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time. When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.

  3. Sexual Act/Sexual Activity is

    1. Any form of vaginal, anal, or oral penetration or attempted penetration, however slight, by a penis, object, tongue or finger.

    2. Any sexual contact, including sexual touching. Sexual touching includes contact under or over clothing with another person's anus, breasts, buttocks, genitals, groin or inner thigh; touching another person anywhere with any of these body parts; making another person touch any of these body parts under or over clothing; or the emission of ejaculate on the clothing or body of another person.

  4. Complainant refers to the individual who alleges that they have been the subject of Sexual Misconduct, and may be a CUNY student, employee (including all full-time and part-time faculty and staff and paid/unpaid interns) or visitor. Under this Policy, the alleged incident(s) may have been brought to the college's attention by someone other than the complainant.

  5. Confidentiality is the commitment not to share any identifying information with others, except as required by law in emergency circumstances (such as risk of death or serious bodily harm). Confidentiality may only be offered by individuals who are not required to report known incidents of Sexual Misconduct to college officials. Licensed mental health counselors, medical providers and pastoral counselors may offer confidentiality. See additional discussion in Section VI.

  6. Day Whenever this Policy refers to a “day,” it means a calendar day other than a Saturday, Sunday or federal or state holiday.

  7. Knowingly submitting false statements or information means knowingly making false statements or submitting false information in connection with any allegation of Sexual Misconduct (as opposed to providing information which, even if erroneous, is provided in good faith). Anyone who knowingly makes false statements or submits false information in connection with any allegation of Sexual Misconduct will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with CUNY Bylaws, policies and collective bargaining agreements.

  8. Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Matter is the term used to describe allegations of Sexual Misconduct that do not meet the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment and therefore will be resolved, investigated and adjudicated pursuant to the procedures outlined in Section XII.

  9. Party is a complainant or respondent.

  10. Preponderance of evidence is the standard of evidence used during the investigation and adjudication of Sexual Misconduct allegations under this Policy. A preponderance of the evidence means whether it is more likely than not that the Sexual Misconduct occurred.

  11. Privacy is the assurance that an individual or the college will only reveal information about allegations of Sexual Misconduct to those who need to know the information in order to carry out their duties or responsibilities or as otherwise required by law. Individuals who are unable to offer the higher standard of confidentiality under law, but who are still committed to not disclose information more than necessary, may offer privacy. See additional discussion in Section VI.

  12. Respondent refers to the individual who is alleged to have committed Sexual Misconduct against a CUNY student, employee, or visitor.

  13. Retaliation is adverse treatment of an individual as a result of that individual's reporting Sexual Misconduct, assisting someone to report Sexual Misconduct, opposing in a reasonable manner an act or policy believed to constitute Sexual Misconduct, or participating in any manner (or refusing to participate) in an investigation or resolution under this Policy. Adverse treatment includes intimidation, threats, coercion or discrimination for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by this Policy. All individuals are prohibited from engaging in retaliation, including complainants, respondents and others, such as friends or relatives of the parties.

  14. Title IX Formal Complaint is a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Title IX Sexual Harassment against a respondent and requesting that the college investigate the allegations. The Title IX Coordinator may sign a Title IX Formal Complaint with or without a complainant's desire to participate in a grievance process.

  15. Title IX Sexual Harassment Matter is the term used to describe allegations of Sexual Misconduct that meet the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment and therefore must be resolved, investigated and adjudicated pursuant to the Title IX grievance procedures required by the USDOE and outlined in Section XI.

  16. Visitor is any person other than a CUNY student or employee who interacts with the CUNY community. CUNY alumni are considered visitors under this Policy.

  17. Writing Whenever this Policy requires a “writing,” electronic mail satisfies the writing requirement.


7“Based on sex”includes sexual orientation, gender, gender expression and gender identity, including transgender status.


Read the full policy in PDF format

Campus Cultural Centers

Kupferberg Holocaust Center exterior lit up at nightOpens in a new window
Kupferberg Holocaust Center Opens in a new window

The KHC uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Russian Ballet performing at the Queensborough Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window
QPAC: Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

Queensborough Art Gallery exterior in the afternoonOpens in a new window
QCC Art GalleryOpens in a new window

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.