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Washington State University Office of Civil Rights Compliance and Investigation

Sex and Gender Based Harassment and Discrimination

Discrimination, on the basis of sex and/or gender, is prohibited by WSU Executive Policy #15 (EP15). Discrimination in all its forms, including harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct, destroys mutual respect and a trusting environment, can bring substantial personal harm to individuals, and violates individual rights. Such behaviors are prohibited and not tolerated at WSU.

Sex, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity/expression are protected classes. WSU prohibits discrimination on the basis of a protected class.  Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination and is prohibited by EP 15. Sexual harassment includes discriminatory harassment on the basis of sex and/or gender, quid pro quo harassment, stalking, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, and nonconsensual sexual contact (including nonconsensual sexual intercourse).

  • Discriminatory Harassment: Unwelcome, intentional conduct, on the basis of membership in a protected class, which is so severe or pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it substantially and unreasonably: 
    • Interferes with, or has the potential to interfere with, an individual’s ability to participate in WSU employment, education, programs, or activities;
    • Adversely alters the condition of an individual’s WSU employment, education, or participation status;
    • Creates an objectively abusive employment, program, or educational environment; or
    • Results in a material or substantial disruption of WSU’s operations or the rights of students, staff, faculty, visitors, or program participants.
  • Quid Pro Quo: Quid pro quo sexual harassment includes: 
    • Submission to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of any individual’s employment or education; or
    • Submission to or rejection of unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by an individual used as the basis for employment or educational decisions affecting the individual.
  • Stalking: Stalking is defined by the WSU Standards of Conduct for Students, WAC 504-26-223. For purposes of EP 15, the referenced definition applies to complaints against students, faculty, staff, and others having an association with the University, in accordance with Application of Policy.
  • Intimate Partner Violence: Intimate partner abuse is conduct or threats which are targeted against a person with whom an individual is in or had been in a romantic, sexual, or dating relationship, where the conduct or threats are used to coerce, intimidate, or control the person. This may include physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, or financial assault and/or control. It may also include direct or indirect conduct, as well as threats or conduct directed towards the person’s family, friends, property, or pets. Such conduct is a violation of this policy where it meets one or more of the four factors described in the definition of Discriminatory Harassment.
  • Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses explained above. Examples of sexual exploitation may include, but are not limited to:
    • Causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person to gain sexual advantage over such other person;
    • Invading another person’s sexual privacy;
    • Prostituting another person;
    • Engaging in voyeurism. A person commits voyeurism if, for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person, he or she knowingly views, photographs, records, or films another person, without that person’s knowledge and consent, while the person being viewed, photographed, recorded, or filmed is in a place where he or she has a reasonable expectation of privacy;
    • Knowingly or recklessly exposing another person to a significant risk of sexually transmitted disease or infection;
    • Exposing one’s intimate parts in nonconsensual circumstances;
    • Sexually based stalking and/or bullying
  • Nonconsensual Sexual Contact: Nonconsensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object or body part, by one person against another person’s intimate parts (or clothing covering any of those areas), or by causing another person to touch his or her own or another person’s intimate body parts without consent and/or by force. Sexual contact also can include any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner with another person’s nonintimate body parts. It also includes nonconsensual sexual intercourse.

If you are the victim of discrimination or you become aware of discrimination, CRCI may be able to assist you. Learn more about CRCI and the university’s policies and procedures regarding sex or gender based discrimination: