What is Title IX

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
-Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

What does Title IX prohibit?

Sexual misconduct is a form of sex discrimination and is, therefore, a violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Titles IV and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the laws of the State of Maryland and Harford County. Anybody can experience sexual misconduct: males and females; straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals; part-time and full-time students and employees; individuals with and without disabilities; and individuals of different races and national origins. HCC will investigate and resolve allegations of sexual misconduct involving parties of the same sex using the same procedures and standards that are used in all complaints involving parties of the opposite sex. Sexual misconduct is a violation of HCC’s Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Policies and Procedures and is defined as prohibited conduct in the HCC Code for Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct.

Sexual misconduct encompasses a range of behavior used to obtain sexual gratification against another’s will or at the expense of another. Sexual Misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, and any conduct of a sexual nature that is without consent, or has the effect of threatening or intimidating the person against whom such conduct is directed. Please see Contacts and Resources if you need additional information.

The following are examples of prohibited acts of sexual misconduct as defined by HCC:

Sexual Assault

  • Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse:
    Any insertion of an object or body part that penetrates, however slightly, the genitals, mouth, or anus of another person, against the person’s will and without the consent of the person;

    Sexual assault is aggravated if it:
    • is done by force or threat of force;
    • is done by displaying a dangerous weapon, or a physical object that the person reasonably believes is a dangerous weapon; and/or
    • is done by threatening, or by placing fear in the person, that the person or someone known to the person, will suffer death, kidnapping, or severe physical injury.
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact:
    The intentional touching of the person’s genital, buttock, inner thigh, or other intimate area, or the clothing covering the area, or forcing the person to touch the offender’s genital, buttock, inner thigh, or other intimate area against the person’s will and without his/her consent for sexual arousal or gratification or with the intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, or degrade the person.
    • Examples of non-consensual sexual contact include, but are not limited to, grabbing a person’s buttocks, pulling on a shirt that covers a person’s breasts, and/or placing the person’s hand on or over the offender’s genital area.

Definition of Consent

  • Consent is a positive, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement to engage in specific sexual activity throughout a sexual encounter.
  • Consent cannot be inferred from the absence of the person saying "no." A clear "yes," verbal or otherwise, is necessary.
  • Consent to some sexual acts does not imply consent to others, nor does past consent to a given act imply present or future consent.
  • Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter and can be revoked at any time.
  • Consent cannot be obtained by threat, coercion, or force.
  • Consent cannot be obtained from a person who is incapacitated. Incapacitated refers to those persons who have mental or physical disabilities that temporarily or permanently render the person incapable of appraising the nature of the sexual activity, resisting the sexual activity, or able to communicate an unwillingness to engage in the sexual activity.

Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated due to alcohol, drugs, medication, or some other condition.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment includes: unwelcomed sexual advances; conduct of a sexual nature, or requests for sexual favors that affect a person’s employment, unreasonably interferes with work or school performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Without limiting what can be sexual harassment, generally there are two forms of sexual harassment:

  • Quid Pro Quo (this for that)
    when one person indicates to another person that they will favor that person if the person accepts the unwanted sexual behavior. An example of quid pro quo sexual harassment is an instructor promising to give a higher grade than what was earned in exchange for the student engaging in sexual activity.
  • Hostile Environment
    pervasive, sex-related verbal or physical conduct that is unwelcome, offensive, and unreasonably interferes with the person’s work or school performance. Examples include, but are not limited to, unwanted touching or kissing; blocking a person’s path or hindering his/her movement; making sexually suggestive gestures; leering, winking, or throwing kisses; name calling; spreading sexual rumors; asking about the person’s sex life; and sending drawings, pictures, or cartoons that are sexually offensive to the person.

Relationship Violence and Domestic Violence

Relationship violence and domestic violence includes: threatening or violent behavior and/or psychological, physical or emotional abuse against a person with whom the offender is in a relationship, regardless of gender or sexuality. Relationship violence and domestic violence behaviors include, but are not limited to: actual or threatened physical harm, stalking, intimidation, name calling, and preventing the person from seeing friends or family members.

Sexual Coercion

Sexual coercion is using pressure, alcohol, drugs, or force to have sexual contact with someone against his or her will and includes persistent attempts to have sexual contact with someone who has already refused. Examples of sexual coercion include, but are not limited to, continuing to pressure a person for sex after that person has made it clear that s/he does not want to have sex, s/he wants to stop having sex, s/he does not want to perform specific sex acts, and/or threatening to end the relationship if the other person does not have sex.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation is taking sexual advantage of another person without that person’s consent for one’s own advantage, benefit, inordinate sexual desire, or entertainment. Examples include, but are not limited to: taking sexually explicit photographs or video of the person using any electronic device, including cell phones; recording the person’s conversations without permission; incapacitating or attempting to incapacitate a person by the use of alcohol, drugs, or restraints for a sex-related reason; allowing third parties to observe the person’s sexual acts or recordings of his/her sexual acts without permission; and voyeurism.


Stalking is a series of actions that make a reasonable person feel afraid or in danger. A stalker can be a stranger, an intimate partner, a friend, or a co-worker. Examples of stalking behavior include, but are not limited to: actions that have the purpose or effect of making a person reasonably believe that the acts are intended to seek an unwelcomed relationship or contact, such as repeatedly showing up at events where the stalker knows the person will be without the stalker having a legitimate reason to be there; repeatedly calling, texting, or following the person online; using GPS to see where the person goes; sending unwanted cards, letters, or gifts; damaging the person’s home, vehicle, or other personal property; using hidden cameras to view/record the person’s activity; contacting the person’s friends, family, and co-workers to learn personal information about the person; and threatening to hurt the person, his/her family, friends, or pets.


If a person refuses or does not consent to engage in sexual activity, the other party may not retaliate against or intimidate the person. Retaliation and intimidation behaviors include, but are not limited to: actual physical harm or threats to physically harm the person; spreading malicious lies or rumors; disseminating personal information; stalking or following the person; making harassing phone calls; or vandalizing the person’s property.