Glossary of Sexual Misconduct Terms

Queensborough Community College

  1. 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.

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

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

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

    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.

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

    Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time. When consent is withdrawn or no can longer be given, sexual activity must stop.

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

  3. Complaint is an allegation of Sexual Misconduct made under this policy.

  4. 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 legally required to report known incidents of Sexual Misconduct to college officials. Licensed mental health counselors, medical providers & pastoral counselors may offer confidentiality.

  5. Dating Violence is violence or sexual assault committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship is determined based on the reporting party's statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship and the frequency of the interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior, based on the frequency, nature, and severity of the conduct. A relationship may be romantic or intimate regardless of whether the relationship was sexual in nature. Dating violence includes the threat of sexual or physical abuse.

  6. Domestic Violence is any violence or sexual assault committed by (i) a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; (ii) a person with whom the victim shares a child; (iii) a person who cohabits or cohabited with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; or (iv) anyone else covered by applicable domestic violence laws. Domestic violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior, based on the frequency, nature, and severity of the conduct.

  7. Forcible Touching/Fondling is intentionally touching the sexual or other intimate parts of another person without the latter's consent for the purpose of degrading or abusing such person, or for the purpose of gratifying the actor's sexual desire.

  8. Gender-Based Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on an individual's actual or perceived sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes that is sufficiently serious to adversely affect an individual's participation in employment, education or other CUNY activities. The effect will be evaluated based on the perspective of a reasonable person in the position of the complainant. An example of gender-based harassment would be persistent mocking or disparagement of a person based on a perceived lack of stereotypical masculinity or femininity.

  9. Intimate Partner Violence (“IPV”) includes both Domestic Violence and Dating Violence.

  10. Managers are employees who have authority to make tangible employment decisions with regard to other employees, including the authority to hire, fire, promote, compensate or assign significantly different responsibilities.

  11. Pastoral counselor. A person who is associated with a religious order or denomination, recognized by that order or denomination as someone who provides confidential counseling, and functioning within the scope of that recognition.

  12. Privacy is the assurance that the college will only reveal information about a report 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.

  13. Rape and Attempted Rape is the penetration or attempted penetration, no matter how slight, of any body part by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of that person.

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

  15. Retaliation is adverse treatment of an individual as a result of that individual's reporting Sexual Misconduct, assisting someone with a report of Sexual Misconduct, opposing in a reasonable manner an act or policy believed to constitute Sexual Misconduct, or participating in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a Sexual Misconduct report. Adverse treatment includes threats, intimidation and reprisals by either a complainant or respondent or by others such as friends or relatives of either a complainant or respondent.

  16. Sexual Activity is:

    • contact between the penis and the vulva or the penis and the anus;
    • contact between the mouth and the penis, the mouth and the vulva, or
      the mouth and the anus;
    • penetration, however slight, of the anal or genital opening of another by a hand or finger or by any object, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person; or intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
  17. Sexual Assault is any form of sexual activity that occurs without consent.

  18. Sex Discrimination is treating an individual differently or less favorably because of sex, including sexual orientation, gender or gender identity (including transgender status), as well as pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions. Examples of sex discrimination include giving a student a lower grade, or failing to hire or promote an employee, based on their sex.

  19. Sexual Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including but not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic and electronic communications or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

    • submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual's employment or academic standing or is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement (quid pro quo); or
    • such conduct is sufficiently serious that it alters the conditions of, or has the effect of substantially 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.

      Conduct is considered “unwelcome” if the individual did not request or invite it and considered the conduct to be undesirable or offensive.

      While it is not possible to list all circumstances that might constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct that might constitute sexual harassment depending on the totality of the circumstances:
      • Inappropriate or unwelcome physical contact or suggestive body language, such as touching, groping, patting, pinching, hugging, kissing, or brushing against an individual's body;
      • 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;
      • Visual displays or distribution of sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials; or
      • Undue and unwanted attention, such as repeated inappropriate flirting, staring, or making sexually suggestive gestures.
  20. Sexual Misconduct is sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence, as defined in this policy.

  21. Sexual Violence includes: (1) sexual activity without affirmative consent, such as sexual assault rape/attempted rape, and forcible touching/fondling; (2) dating, domestic and intimate partner violence; (3) stalking as defined below; and (4) voyeurism, as defined below.
  22. Stalking is intentionally engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that:

    1. is likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to the physical health, safety or property of such person, a member of such person's immediate family or a third party with whom such person is acquainted; or causes material harm to the mental or emotional health of such person, where such conduct consists of following, telephoning or initiating communication or contact with such person, a member of such person's immediate family or a third party with whom such person is acquainted; or
    2. is likely to cause such person to reasonably fear that her/his employment, business or career is threatened, where such conduct consists of appearing, telephoning or initiating communication or contact at such person's place of employment or business, and the actor was previously clearly informed to cease that conduct.

    Where stalking is directed at an individual with whom the perpetrator has, had, or sought some form of sexual or romantic relationship, it will be addressed under this Policy. Stalking that lacks a sexual or gender-based nexus may be addressed under the Code of Conduct.

  23. Supervisors are employees who are not managers, but have a sufficient degree of control over the working conditions of one or more employees, which might include evaluating their performance and making recommendations for changes in employment status that are given particular weight.
  24. Visitor is an individual who is present at a CUNY campus or unit but is not a student or an employee.

  25. Voyeurism is unlawful surveillance and includes acts that violate an individual's right to privacy in connection with her/his 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 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, 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;
    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.
  26. Writing. Whenever this policy requires in “writing,” electronic mail satisfies the writing requirement.

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