sexual misconduct / Sexual Harassment - frequently asked questions


What is Sexual Misconduct?
Sexual misconduct is broadly defined as any sexual behavior that creates an uncomfortable, hostile working or learning environment. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, interpersonal violence, and any unwanted verbal or physical sexual attention.


What is Sexual Harassment?
A type of discrimination that occurs when verbal, sexual, gender based, physical, electronic and/or another form of conduct based upon an individual’s Protected Status (i.e. gender) (i.e. gender) interferes with that individual’s educational environment (e.g., admission, academic standing, grades, assignment); work environment (e.g., hiring, advancement, assignment), participation in a University program or activity (e.g., campus housing) or receipt of legitimately-requested services (e.g., disability accommodations), thereby creating Hostile Environment Harassment or Quid Pro Quo Harassment.


Other Forms of Sexual Misconduct:
repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control, or diminish another person, physically or mentally, that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the First Amendment.

Coercion: unreasonable and unwanted pressure to engage in sexual activity.  Coercion includes, but is not limited to, threatening, cajoling and/or pressuring an individual into sexual activity.  Consent is not provided if coercion is present.

Sexual Violence: sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim's use of drugs or alcohol.

Stalking: engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific individual that may cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or, (b) suffer substantial emotional distress.

Sexual Touching: (including disrobing or exposure) by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman, without effective consent which may include, but not be limited to, any contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch any of these body parts, when such touching would be reasonably and objectively offensive.

Domestic Violence: defined as abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, or someone with whom the abuser has a child, has an existing dating or engagement relationship, or has had a former dating or engagement relationship.

Dating Violence any violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Reporting Party, where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined on a case-by-case basis of the following factors: (a) reporting party's statement, (b) length of relationship, (c) type of relationship, (d) frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Sexual Intimidation involves threatening to commit a sexual misconduct upon another person, stalking, cyber-stalking, and engaging in indecent exposure.

Sexual exploitation defined as taking non-consensual, unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another, for one’s own advantage or benefit; or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited. Sexual exploitation encompasses a wide range of behaviors.

Stalking is behavior in which a person is repeatedly following, harassing, threatening, or intimidating another by telephone, mail, electronic communication, social media, or any other action, device or method that purposely or knowingly causes substantial emotional distress or reasonable fear of bodily injury or death.


What is Consent?
Explicit approval and permission to engage in sexual activity demonstrated by clear actions, words, or writings.  Informed consent is freely and voluntarily given, it is mutually understood by all parties involved.


What are the signs/warning signals of Potential Sexual Misconduct?
If someone does one or more of the following you may be experiencing domestic/dating violence…

  • Repeated requests for dates and sex
  • Sexually-oriented humor or language
  • Kissing sounds, whistling, cat calls,
  • Obscene phone calls
  • Comments about sexual likes/dislikes
  • Comments about sexual behavior
  • Leering or ogling
  • Repeated “love” letters
  • Sexually oriented electronic message or images
  • Intrusive touching including pats, hugs, squeezes, pinches, and/or brushing up against someone
  • Unwanted Kissing
  • Unwanted fondling
  • Sexual assault


What is Quid Pro Quo Harassment?
Quid Pro Quo Harassment: Unwelcome conduct by an individual against another individual based upon Protected Status where submission to or rejection of such conduct is used, explicitly or implicitly, as the basis for decisions affecting an individual’s education (e.g., admission, academic standing, grades, assignment), employment (e.g., hiring, advancement, assignment), participation in a University program or activity (e.g., campus housing) or receipt of legitimately requested services (e.g., disability accommodations).


What is Retaliation?
Retaliation is expressly prohibited under this policy.  Retaliation is defined as any action taken by an accused individual or an action taken by a third party against any person because that person has opposed any practices forbidden under this policy or because that person has filed a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation or proceeding under this policy.  This includes action taken against a bystander who intervened to stop or attempt to stop discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct.  Retaliation includes intimidating, threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating against an individual because of the individual’s complaint or participation.  Action is generally deemed retaliatory if it would deter a reasonable person in the same circumstances from opposing practices prohibited by this policy.


Support Measures Available if You Believe You have Experienced Sexual Misconduct
ECSU takes every allegation of sexual misconduct, including Dating/Domestic Violence, seriously. Therefore, ECSU is able to provide Complainants and Responding Parties with any or all of the interim measures (supports), including but not limited to:

  • Free, confidential counseling on-campus (ECSU Counseling and Testing Center 252-335-3273) or off-campus (Albemarle Hopeline: 252-338-3011 - 24 hours)
  • Change in a student’s university housing accommodations
  • Rescheduling of exams and assignments
  • Providing alternative course completion options
  • Change in class schedule, including the ability to drop a course without penalty or to transfer sections
  • Change of grade to an incomplete or withdrawal
  • Opportunity to complete missed work in a course or to retake a course without charge
  • Change in work schedule or job assignment
  • Voluntary leave of absence or return from leave of absence


How do I request help/support if I believe I am a victim of Sexual Misconduct?
If you are in immediate danger, call 911, or ECSU’s Office of Public Safety 252-335-3266. Campus police will not force you to prosecute, but can save your life and give you options.

If you are not in immediate danger, please contact one of the following staff members:

N. Kathryn Underwood-Melton
Title IX Coordinator/Investigator
Marion D. Thorpe Administration
1704 Weeksville Road
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

 Tanisha F. Brumsey
HR Specialist/ Title IX Investigator
Human Resources
243  Marion D. Thorpe Administration Bldg.
Campus Box 944
 (252) 335-3874


John H. Manley
Chief of Police

University Police
142  Thomas-Jenkins Bldg./Campus Box 929
(252) 335-2973