Sexual Misconduct Policy

Introduction

Kean University believes in a zero tolerance policy for sexual misconduct. Members of the University community, guests and visitors have the right to be free from sexual violence. When an allegation of sexual misconduct is brought to the administration, and a respondent is found to have violated this policy, sanctions will be used to ensure that such actions are never repeated. All members of the community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. The University Sexual Misconduct Policy has been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated. This policy has dual purposes. It serves as a measure for us to determine, after the fact, if behaviors trespass on community values. It also should serve as a guide for you on the expectations we have, preventatively, for sexual communication, sexual responsibility and sexual respect.


Overview of Policy Expectations with Respect to Physical Sexual Misconduct

While the policy below is quite detailed and specific, the expectations of this community can be summarized in this simple paragraph. In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear consent. Consent is sexual permission. Consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is less clear than talking about what you want and what you don’t. Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other sexual activity. Silence – without actions demonstrating permission – cannot be assumed to show consent. There is a difference between seduction and coercion. Coercing someone into sexual activity violates this policy just as much as physically forcing someone into sex. Coercing happens when someone unreasonably pressures someone else for sex. When alcohol or other drugs are being used, someone will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot appreciate the who, what, when, where, why, or how of a sexual interaction. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. You will do well to keep in mind that under this policy, “No” always means “No,” and “Yes” may not always mean “Yes.”


Overview of Policy Expectations with Respect to Consensual Relationships

The University does not interfere with private choices regarding personal relationships when these relationships do not interfere with the goals and policies of the University. For the personal protection of members of this community, faculty-student relationships are generally discouraged. However, consensual romantic or sexual relationships in which one party retains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are unethical. Therefore, persons with direct supervisory or evaluative responsibilities who are involved in such relationships must bring those relationships to the attention of their supervisor,and will likely result in the necessity to remove the employee from the supervisory or evaluative responsibilities. This includes RAs and students over whom they have direct responsibility. There are inherent risks in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions (such as teacher and student, supervisor and employee). These relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent does not remove grounds for a charge of a violation of applicable parts of the faculty/staff handbooks.

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