Consent is knowing, voluntary, and permission by word or action to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity or contact. Consent is active and not passive. Silence, in and of itself, should not be interpreted as consent.
- Consent to one act does not constitute consent to another act.
- Consent on a previous occasion does not constitute consent on a later occasion.
- Consent to an act with one person does not constitute consent to an act with any other person.
- The existence of a prior or current relationship does not, in itself, constitute consent; even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutual consent.
- Consent can be withdrawn or modified at any time, and sexual contact must stop immediately once consent is withdrawn.
- Consent cannot be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of resistance, and relying on nonverbal communication alone may result in a violation of this policy.
In evaluating consent, the University will consider the presence of any force, threat of force, or coercion; whether the complainant had the capacity to give consent; and, whether the communication (through words and/or actions) between the parties would be interpreted by a reasonable person (under similar circumstances and with similar identities) as a willingness to engage in a particular sexual act.
An individual is unable to provide consent to engage in sexual activity when the individual 1) is under age 17 and the sexual contact involves an adult (someone 18 years of age or older) who is 3 or more years older; 2) has a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability that renders her or him incapable of giving knowing consent; 3) is unconscious or physically unable to resist; or 4) is incapacitated from alcohol or other drugs, and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known by the Respondent.
Incapacitation is the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent because the individual is mentally and/or physically helpless, either voluntarily or involuntarily, or the individual is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise unaware that the sexual activity is occurring. In addition, an individual is incapacitated if they demonstrate that they are unaware at the time of the incident where they are, how they got there, what is happening, or with whom they are with. Incapacitation also includes intoxication to the point that the person is incapable of exercising the judgment required to decide whether to consent.
Prohibited Sexual Misconduct
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational programs and activities or their living environment. Sexual harassment also includes gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on gender or gender-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature. This definition will be interpreted and applied in a manner consistent with the accepted standards of mature behavior, academic freedom, and the mission of the university. Harassment includes the following definitions:
- Harassment can occur in person, by phone, text message, email or any other electronic medium
- Harassment includes unwanted staring or leering at a person
- Harassment includes verbal comments of a sexual nature, including comments about an individual’s body, sexual activity, or sexual attractiveness; the use of sexually degrading language or innuendo; sexually suggestive gestures, sounds, or jokes
- Harassment includes displays of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons, or written materials
Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
- A student repeatedly contacts another student to go out on a date after the student has made it clear that such contact is unwelcome.
- A male staff assistant in a biology lab repeatedly makes disparaging comments about women such as, “Science is a man’s field” and “Women don’t have the capacity to understand.”
- A student worker tells her supervisor that she is not comfortable with him massaging her shoulders, but he continues to do so on numerous occasions and also makes comments about her attractiveness.
Sexual assault is a general term that covers a broad range of inappropriate and/or unlawful conduct, including rape, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to: nonconsensual sexual intercourse or acts that involve the use or threat of force, violence, or immediate and unlawful bodily injury or threats of future retaliation and duress. Examples of sexual assault include the following nonconsensual acts: oral copulation, anal intercourse, and penetration of the anal or vaginal area with a foreign object, including a finger. Sexual battery includes the nonconsensual touching of a person’s intimate parts, or the clothing covering the immediate area of those parts, or forcing a person to touch another’s intimate parts.
Sexual coercion is defined as the act of using pressure to gain consent for sexual activity, using alcohol and drugs to lower another’s inhibitions, or the use of force to have sexual contact with someone against his or her will or with someone who has already refused. Such behavior includes but is not limited to verbal pressure, emotional pressure, threats, lying, blackmailing, use of alcohol or drugs to take advantage of another, use of guilt, or use of his/her position of authority over another.
Sexual Exploitation occurs when one person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own personal advantage or benefit, (and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses). Examples include, but are not limited to: invasion of sexual privacy; streaming of images, photography, video, or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all parties; voyeurism; inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to nonconsensual sexual activity.
Acts of domestic violence are felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the complainant, by a person with whom the complainant shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the complainant as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction…or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
Dating violence is committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
- The length of the relationship
- The type of relationship
- The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship
Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: 1) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or 2) suffer substantial emotional distress. Acts can include, but are not limited to, threats to harm self, others, and property; following; non-consensual communication; unwanted gifts; and trespassing. Stalking can also include cyber-stalking such as via internet, social media, texts, and phone calls.