Top login menu

Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Harassment and Sexual Misconduct - Code of Conduct

Main page content

Code of Conduct


Murray Edwards College is committed to providing an environment that is free from discrimination and affirms the right of all members to be treated with dignity and respect. The College will not tolerate harassment of one member of its community by another nor sexual misconduct. The College will take allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct very seriously and may take action, including disciplinary action, in response to a complaint from a student.

In line with the University, the College defines harassment as single or repeated incidents involving unwanted or unwarranted conduct towards another person which it is reasonable to think would have the effect of (i) violating that other’s dignity or (ii) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for that other.

Harassment may be verbal, psychological or physical, in person or via a virtual platform or through other methods of contact.

Under this Code of Conduct unacceptable behaviour, whether intentional or not, can take a variety of different forms. Behaviour is defined as inappropriate if:

  • it is unwanted by the recipient;
  • it is perceived by the recipient as violating their dignity and/or creating an intimidating,hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment; and the behaviour could reasonably be considered as having that effect having regard to all the circumstances, including the recipient's perception.

These definitions apply whether or not there was an intention to cause the effect. Unacceptable behaviour may include a number of specific behaviours - such as bullying, or harassment on account of sex (including gender reassignment), race, ethnic or national origin, colour, disability, sexuality, religion or belief, or age. Also, behaviour that may appear trivial as a single incident can constitute harassment or bullying when repeated.

Online harassment may take the form of intimidating, offensive or graphic posts on social media sites or chat rooms, or communications by email, text or instant messaging.

Sexual misconduct includes (but is not limited to) the following, whether or not within a sexual or romantic relationship, including where consent to some form of sexual activity has been given and then withdrawn, or if consent has been given on previous occasions:

  • sexual intercourse or engaging in a sexual act without consent
  • attempting to engage in sexual intercourse or a sexual act without consent
  • sharing private sexual materials of another person without consent
  • kissing without consent
  • touching inappropriately through clothes without consent
  • inappropriately showing sexual organs to another person

Students are expected to take responsibility for their own conduct: the fact that a student against whom an allegation has been made was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time will not be viewed as mitigating the case.