Definitions of Prohibited Conduct

San José State University does not discriminate on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation in its education programs or activities. Title IX protects all people regardless of their gender or gender identity from many types of discrimination, violence and unwanted contact. However, some policies and the definitions around these terms may be confusing. Let's dig in.

Dating & Domestic Violence

According to CSU policy, dating violence is defined as "abuse committed by a person who is or has been in a social or dating relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. 'Abuse' means intentionally or recklessly causing, or attempting to cause, bodily injury or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to self or another. According to CSU policies, abuse does not include non-physical, emotional distress or injury." 

Domestic violence is defined as "abuse committed against someone who is a current or former spouse; current or former cohabitant; someone with whom the Respondent has a child; someone with whom the Respondent has or had a dating or engagement relationship; or a person similarly situated under California domestic or family violence law. Cohabitant means two unrelated persons living together for a substantial period of time, resulting in some permanency of relationship. It does not include roommates who do not have a romantic, intimate, or sexual relationship."

While CSU policy focuses on dating and domestic violence where there is physical violence, there are several other forms of abuse that may be present in abusive and unhealthy relationships.

Other forms of abusive behaviors can include:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Reproductive coercion
  • Controlling behaviors
  • Spiritual, cultural, and religious abuse

For more information on other forms of abuse, please visit the National Resource Center for Domestic Violence at

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment, a form of sex discrimination, is unwelcome verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that includes but is not limited to sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and any other conduct of a sexual nature where: 

  1. Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct is explicitly or implicitly used as the basis for any decision affecting a Complainant's academic status or progress, or access to benefits and services, honors, programs, or activities available at or through the university; or
  2. The conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that its effect, whether or not intended, could be considered by a reasonable person in the shoes of the Complainant, and is in fact considered by the Complainant, as limiting his or her ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or opportunities offered by the university; or
  3. The conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that its effect, whether or not intended, could be considered by a reasonable person in the shoes of the Complainant, and is in fact considered by the Complainant, as creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Sexual harassment could include being forced to engage in unwanted sexual contact as a condition of membership in a student organization; being subjected to video exploitation or a campaign of sexually explicit graffiti; or frequently being exposed to unwanted images of a sexual nature in a classroom that are unrelated to the coursework.

Sexual harassment also includes acts of verbal, non-verbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility based on gender or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct, including sexual assault or rape, is any sexual act against a person’s will and/or without their knowledge or consent. 

All sexual activity between members of the CSU must be based in affirmative consent. Affirmative consent means an informed, affirmative, conscious, verbal, voluntary, and mutual agreement engage in sexual activity.

  • Consent must be given without coercion, force, threats or intimidation. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent
  • Silence does not mean consent
  • Consent can be withdrawn or revoked at any time
  • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not mean consent to other forms of sexual activity
  • Prior sexual activity is not consent for future activity

Consent cannot be given if the person is: 

  • Unconscious, unresponsive, asleep, or incapacitated by alcohol or drugs
  • Under the age of 18
  • Unable to communicate due to their mental or physical condition

If you, or someone you know, has experienced sexual misconduct, we encourage you to connect with on and off campus resources. SJSU is committed to helping survivors of sexual misconduct.


Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause someone to fear for their safety (or the safety of others) or suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking includes the concept of cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used.

For more information and resources on stalking, please visit the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center at


The university strictly prohibits retaliation.  We encourage you to contact our office if you believe you have experienced retaliation.

Retaliation means that a substantial motivating reason for an adverse action taken against a person was because the person has or is believed to have:

  • Exercised their rights under the Policy;
  • Reported or opposed conduct which was reasonably and in good faith believed to be in violation of the Policy;
  • Assisted or participated in an investigation/proceeding under the Policy, regardless of whether the Complaint was substantiated; or
  • Assisted someone in reporting or opposing a violation of the Policy.

Adverse action means an action engaged in by the Respondent that has a substantial and material adverse effect on the Complainant's ability to participate in a university program, activity, or employment. Minor or trivial actions or conduct not reasonably likely to do more than anger or upset a Complainant does not constitute an adverse action.

Retaliation may occur whether or not there is a power or authority differential between the individuals involved.