College Policy on Harassment & Sexual Misconduct
Murray Edwards College is committed to providing a safe environment in which all members of the College can participate freely and contribute fully in the life of the College, University and city without fear for their personal security. A safe environment, free of harassment or threat, is fundamental to the academic and social life of our community here in College and within the wider University. Sexual harassment and misconduct will not be tolerated. All members of the community must treat each other with respect and there must be a clear understanding of the types of behaviour which are inappropriate and unacceptable. The College will support and assist the victim of any harassment or assault.
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.
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
• gender reassignment
• marriage and civil partnership
• pregnancy and maternity
• religion or belief
• sexual orientation
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;
• repeatedly following another person without good reason;
• making unwanted remarks of a sexual nature.
Adopted by Council in November 2019; to be reviewed in Michaelmas Term 2022