Terms & Definitions
Consent is knowing, voluntary and clear permission by word or action, to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid there must be clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct.
A person cannot consent if he or she is unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or other drugs. An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has violated this policy. It is not an excuse that the individual respondent of sexual misconduct was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the incapacity of the other.
Incapacitation is defined as a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, why or how” of their sexual interaction). This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, involuntary physical restraint, and/or from the taking of incapacitating drugs.
Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous dating relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar previous patterns that may be evidenced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent.
A person can withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity by expressing in words or actions that he or she no longer wants the act to continue and, if that happens, the other person must stop immediately.
A minor below the age of consent according to state law cannot consent to sexual activity. This means that sexual contact by an adult with a person below the age of consent is a crime as well as a violation of this policy, even if the minor appeared to have wanted to engage in the act.
Means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
Includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim 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 in which the crime of violence occurred.
includes dating and domestic violence.
A person who reports that he or she has allegedly experienced an act of sexual misconduct or relationship violence.
is any individual who is alleged to have committed an act of sexual misconduct or relationship violence.
means any offense classified as a forcible or non-forcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, including rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, forcible fondling, incest and statutory rape.
Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.
Any individual that may have information relevant to an alleged policy violation. A witness may be the individual that reports the alleged policy violation and in that case, referred to as a Reporting Witness.