The university continues efforts to foster a more respectful and inclusive community in response to recent events. More

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Terms and Definitions

TERMS AND DEFINITIONS

Affirmative Consent
Incapacitation
Rape
Sexual Assault
Sexual Exploitation
Sexual Harassment
     Hostile Environment
Gender-Based Harassment
Domestic and Dating Violence
Stalking
Retaliation
Amnesty

Affirmative Consent

Consent is an understandable exchange of affirmative words or actions, which indicate a willingness by all parties to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.  Consent must be informed, freely and actively given.  It is the responsibility of the initiator to obtain clear and affirmative responses at each stage of sexual involvement. 

Silence, previous sexual relationships or experiences, and/or a current relationship may not, in themselves, be taken to imply consent. Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time, as long as the withdrawal is communicated clearly.



Incapacitation

An individual who is incapacitated by alcohol and/or drugs both voluntarily or involuntarily consumed may not give consent. The use of alcohol or drugs to render another person mentally or physically incapacitated as a precursor to or part of a sexual assault is prohibited. The use of alcohol, medications or other drugs by either party does not excuse a violation of this Policy.
 


Rape

Rape is the penetration, no matter how slight, of (1) the vagina or anus of a person by any body part of another person or by an object, or (2) the mouth of a person by a sex organ of another person, without that person’s consent. 
 


Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any kind of sexual physical contact that involves any form of coercion, force or lack of consent.  Sexual physical contact includes the intentional touching of another person on an area of the body generally recognized as a private part of the body, or touching any part of another person’s body with a private part of one’s own body or object, no matter how slight.  Sexual intercourse means penetration, no matter how slight, of a bodily orifice (vagina, anus, or mouth) by an object or by a body part, and/or non-consensual oral sex or anal sex.  


Sexual Exploitation


Sexual exploitation is taking sexual advantage of another person for one’s own benefit or the benefit of anyone other than that person without that person’s consent. (For examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation please see pages 18 and 19 of the Sexual Violence Policy)


Sexual Harassment 

Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is prohibited when:   

submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; and/or submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; and/or such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating a sexually intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, educational, or living environment.

Sexual harassment can occur between people of any gender. It can occur between equals (e.g., student to student, staff to staff, faculty to faculty) or between persons of differing power status (e.g., supervisor to subordinate, faculty to student, coach to athlete.  In order for conduct to constitute sexual harassment under this policy, a reasonable person under similar circumstance would have to conclude that the behavior was harassing or discriminatory.

Hostile Environment
A hostile environment exists when sexual harassment is sufficiently serious to deny or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs or activities. A hostile environment can be created by anyone involved in the University’s programs or activities (e.g., administrators, faculty members, students, and campus visitors).

A single or isolated incident may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe.  The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to show evidence of a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical.




Gender-Based Harassment

Unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on a person’s actual or perceived sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes, is prohibited when:

submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; and/or submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; and/or such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, educational, or living environment based on gender.



Domestic and Dating Violence

Domestic and dating violence are acts of abusive or coercive behavior (physical, sexual, financial, verbal and/or emotional) used by a perpetrator to gain or exercise control over another, including any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.  Domestic and dating violence can occur in relationships between persons of any gender.

Domestic violence is such behavior directed against a current or former spouse, family member (blood, step, adoptive or foster), person with whom a child is shared, or cohabitant (possibly a roommate).

Dating violence is such behavior directed against another person in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature, and where the existence of such a relationship is determined based on a consideration of the length and type of relationship and frequency of interaction between the persons involved.
 


Stalking

Engaging in a course of harassing, threatening, or unwanted behavior that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress or fear for their safety or the safety of others.  Stalking may occur in a range of formats including, but not limited to, in-person conduct, writings, texting, voicemail, email, social media, following someone with a global position system (GPS), and video/audio recording.


 
Retaliation

The University prohibits retaliation against any person for making a complaint of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation, for assisting in making a complaint, for resisting or openly opposing such conduct, or for otherwise using or participating in the complaint investigation process under The Plan.



Amnesty

Students may be hesitant to report sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation out of concern that they, or witnesses, might be charged with violations of the University’s drug/alcohol policies. While the University does not condone such behavior, they place a priority on the need to address sexual violence and misconduct. Accordingly, the University may elect not to pursue discipline against a student who, in good faith, reports, witnesses or possesses personal knowledge of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation.