Definitions and Resources

Bullying is a reckless or intentional attempt, whether by a single individual or a group, to demean, intimidate, or abuse another individual, or to create a hostile or offensive environment. Bullying is behavior which may include verbal, physical, or written conduct or intentional electronic communication (see Cyber-bullying) and may involve threats, assault, stalking, malicious destruction of, or tampering with, the personal property of the victim, or other methods of coercion. It may occur repeatedly over time, and is often characterized by an imbalance of power between the aggressor and the victim. Bullying creates a hostile environment by interfering with an individual’s opportunities, performance, or physical or psychological well-being. It is motivated by an actual or perceived personal characteristic (such as race, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ancestry, physical attributes, socioeconomic status, familial status, or physical or mental ability or disability), and can substantially disrupt the orderly functioning of an institution.

Links to information on Bullying

Bystander intervention is when individuals observe sexual violence or witness the conditions that perpetuate it, and though they are not directly involved in the situation, make the choice to intervene, speak up, or do something to prevent an incident from happening.

If you see a serious situation developing, you may be able to prevent it. Are you prepared to intervene?

Bystander intervention can be a powerful tool in preventing sexual assault, but it is important to know what you are doing and how to keep yourself safe if you decide to speak up or step up.

Links to information regarding Bystander Intervention

Consent is present when two people (or more), together, decide upon and agree to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way, with each other. Any sexual act that is initiated upon a person without his or her consent is against the law and is a violation of Hood College Policy.

Elements of Consent: all must be present for consent to exist

  • C Comprehension that the act is taking place
  • O Optional for both parties; both must give positive assent
  • N Negotiation with partner
  • S Sobriety – must have knowledge of the nature of the act
  • E Engagement in the act
  • N Nonviolent
  • T Talking about it/ communication – silence does not equal consent

Links to resources regarding Consent

  • Consent and Consensual Sex
    A brief, but definitive discussion about what constitutes consent and the critical importance of communicating about the issue. From the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
  • Defining Sexual Assault and Consent
    See especially, "What is Consent" at the bottom of the page. From the Northwestern University Women's Center.

Cyberbullying is bullying (see "Bullying," above) that takes place using electronic technology, and is a form of harassment, and, under some circumstances, may also be considered sexual harassment or even sexual violence. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools and including social media sites, text messaging, chat, and websites. Examples of cyberbullying include mean, threatening, or humiliating text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

The "Tips for Teens" links, below, are aimed at high-school aged students, but, regardless, they contain suggestions that would be useful for people of any age who are concerned about cyber-bullying.

Links to information on Cyberbullying

Cyberstalking is when electronic media, such as the Internet, are used to pursue, harass or contact another person in an unsolicited fashion. Many stalkers are motivated by a desire to exert control over their victims.Cyberstalking is a form of harassment (see the discussion, below), and can also be a form of sexual harassment (also, see below) and/or sexual misconduct or sexual violence. An online user may be vulnerable in a number of areas, including live chat, on message boards or newsgroups, and in email.

Links to information on Cyberstalking

Dating violence is violence that is committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.” It consists of physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship, as well as stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and may occur between current or former dating partners.

Links to information on Dating Violence

  • Bulletins for Teens: Dating Violence
    This gives information on some of the behaviors that are considered dating violence, how you might react if you are a victim, things you can do to help yourself or others who may be experiencing dating violence
  • Teen Dating Violence
    Very useful information from the Centers for Disease Control, with additional resources and links to hotlines.
  • Dating Violence 101
    An overview of the behaviors that can constitute dating violence. From
  • For LGBTQ
    Dating violence resources for the LGBTQ community. From
  • Dating and Domestic Violence on College Campuses
    Gives statistics and a list of obstacles that can prevent students from seeking help with dating violence. That's just the tip of the iceberg: this is a comprehensive site dealing with most aspects of dating violence on a college campus, so do explore beyond this one page.

Discrimination is treating an individual differently from another individual with respect to the terms and conditions of her/his employment or student status, because of that individual’s sex, race, color, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, national origin or any classification currently protected under federal, state or local anti-discrimination statutes.

Link to information on Discrimination

  • Types of Educational Opportunities Discrimination
    This page from the US Department of Justice outlines the classes of people who are protected against discrimination in education by Titles IV, VI, and IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.

Domestic Violence (a form of Sexual Misconduct)

Domestic violence is a "felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic violence laws of the State of Maryland, or by another person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Maryland.

Links to information about Domestic Violence

Harassment is an attempt to demean, intimidate, or abuse another individual, or to create a hostile or offensive environment on the basis of another’s sex, race, color, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, national origin, or any classification currently protected under federal, state or local anti-discrimination statutes.

At Hood this generally refers to the creation of a hostile workplace or educational environment.

Link to resources about Harassment

Sexual assault/sexual violence is an offense of forcible or non-forcible sex act as defined under the sexual assault laws of the State of Maryland and may include but is not limited to the following; rape and attempted rape, unwanted touching or groping, sexual harassment, unwanted showing of private parts, sexual exploitation, child sexual abuse, incest, sexually obscene communications (in person, by phone, texting, email or social networking). Sexual assault is an egregious form of sexual harassment.

To put it another way, sexual assault/sexual violence can be any sexual act that is perpetrated against someone's will, encompassing a range of offenses, including a completed nonconsensual sex act (e.g., rape), an attempted nonconsensual sex act, abusive sexual contact (e.g., unwanted touching), and non-contact sexual abuse (e.g., threatened sexual violence, exhibitionism, verbal sexual harassment). These are defined in more detail below. All types of sexual violence or sexual assault involve victims who do not consent, or who are unable to give consent, whether due to mental incapacity or alcohol or drug intoxication.The following are all considered sexual assault.

  • A completed sex act is defined as contact between the penis and the vulva or the penis and the anus involving penetration, however slight; contact between the mouth and penis, vulva, or anus; or penetration of the anal or genital opening of another person by a hand, finger, or other object.
  • An attempted (but not completed) sex act
  • Abusive sexual contact is defined as intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person without his or her consent, or of a person who is unable to consent or refuse.
  • Non-contact sexual abuse does not include physical contact of a sexual nature between the perpetrator and the victim. It includes acts such as voyeurism; intentional exposure of an individual to exhibitionism; unwanted exposure to pornography; verbal or behavioral sexual harassment; threats of sexual violence to accomplish some other end; or taking nude photographs of a sexual nature of another person without his or her consent or knowledge, or of a person who is unable to consent or refuse.

Links to information on Sexual Assault/Sexual Violence

Sexual exploitation is when a person takes nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit (including prostituting another), or to the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute sexual assault, nonconsensual sexual contact, or sexual harassment. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to: making public sexual activity with another, without that person's consent; prostituting or causing the prostitution of another; photographing, video recording (or transmission), or audio recording (or transmission) of private sexual activity and/or intimate body parts (including genitalia, groin, breasts or buttocks) without the knowledge and consent of all persons involved; going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as third parties to observe private sexual acts of a participant without the participant's consent); voyeurism; and/or knowingly transmitting HIV or an STI to another person.

Links to information regarding Sexual Exploitation

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other inappropriate verbal, written, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that takes place under any of the following circumstances: a) When submission to such conduct is made, explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment or participation in an education program; b) When submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used by the offender as the basis for making personnel or educational decisions affecting the individual subject to sexual advances; or c) When such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual’s work and/or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment, or that is sufficiently serious to deny or limit a student's ability to participate in or benefit from the College's programs, based on sex.

The following are examples of sexual harassment:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances. This includes patting, pinching, brushing up against, hugging, kissing, fondling, or any other similar physical contact considered unwelcome by another individual;
  • Requests or demands for sexual favors. This includes subtle or blatant pressures or requests for sexual favors accompanied by an implied or stated promise of preferential treatment or negative consequence concerning one’s employment status, or educational evaluation or record; Verbal abuse that is sexually oriented and considered unwelcome by another individual. This includes commenting about an individual’s body or appearance where such comments are beyond mere courtesy; telling “dirty jokes” that are clearly unwelcome and considered offensive by others or any other tasteless, sexually oriented comments, innuendos, or actions that offend others;
  • Engaging in sexually oriented conduct that would unreasonably interfere with another’s academic or work performance. This includes extending unwanted sexual attention to someone that reduces his/her personal productivity or time available to work at assigned tasks; or
  • Creating a work or learning environment that is intimidating, hostile or offensive because of unwelcome sexually oriented conversations, suggestions, requests, demands, or physical contact.

Links to resources on Sexual Harassment

Sexual misconduct offenses include, but are not limited to, sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual contact (or attempts to commit same), non-consensual sexual intercourse (or attempts to commit same); sexual exploitation (including invasion of sexual privacy, prostituting another individual, non-consensual digital recording of sexual activity, engaging in voyeurism, knowingly transmitting an STI or HIV to another individual, exposing one’s genitals in a non-consensual way, sexually-based stalking or bullying, etc.); acts of sexual force and/or violence, and sexual assault.

Hood College is committed to promoting a campus environment of mutual respect for and between all students, faculty, and staff. To that end, sexual misconduct cannot be tolerated at Hood. Sexual misconduct is antithetical to, and seriously undermines, Hood's effectiveness as a workplace and as an institution of higher education. All members of the Hood community are responsible for seeing that our campus provides an environment that is free from sexual misconduct.

Link to information on Sexual Misconduct

Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or the safety of others and or suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking is a form of harassment, and, under some circumstances, may be considered sexual harassment or sexual violence.

Link to resources on Stalking

  • The Stalking Resource Center
    Offers information and resources for persons who think they are being stalked, as well as informational materials to help anyone understand what stalking is.