The following are definitions of key words used by the Title IX and Compliance Office and found in the Student Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, Relationship Violence, Stalking and Related Misconduct.

Definitions of criminal violations can be found in the University’s Annual Safety Matters Report.

refers to the person making the allegation(s) of prohibited conduct

refers to unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. When someone makes it clear that he or she does not want to engage in sexual activity or does not want to go beyond a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be considered coercive. The use of coercion can involve the use of pressure, manipulation, substances, and/or force. Ignoring objections of another person is a form of coercion.

requires clear and unambiguous communication and mutual agreement for the act in which the participants are involved.

In understanding the meaning of consent, the following principles apply:

  • A sexual interaction is considered consensual when individuals willingly and knowingly engage in the interaction.
  • Someone who is incapacitated cannot consent. A person is incapacitated when the person cannot make a rational, reasonable decision because the person lacks the ability to understand their decision. A person can become incapacitated as a result of, among other things, disability, physical or mental impairment, involuntary physical constraint, sleep, unconsciousness, or consumption of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Previous relationships or previous consent for sexual activity is not consent to sexual activity on a different occasion. (For example, consent to certain acts at one point in an evening does not mean consent to the same acts later in the same evening.)
  • Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.
  • Silence or the absence of resistance is not the same as consent.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
  • The use of alcohol or drugs does not justify or excuse behavior that violates this Policy and never makes someone at fault for being the victim of a violation of this Policy.

Any non-consensual sexual activity is prohibited by this Policy.

refers to the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to engage in sexual contact or intercourse. Force can also include threats, intimidation (implied threats), or coercion used to overcome resistance.

refers to acts of aggression, intimidation, stalking, or hostility based on gender, gender identity, or gender stereotyping. Gender-based harassment can occur if students are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic of their sex or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. To constitute harassment, the conduct must unreasonably interfere with an individual’s education or academic activities or create an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive academic or living environment.

refers to when unwelcome conduct of a sexual or gender-based nature has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for that individual’s employment, education, living environment or participation in a university activity.

A person does not have to be the direct target of harassment to complain about it. Harassing behavior toward others may be so offensive, demeaning, or disruptive as to constitute a hostile work or academic environment, even if the harassment is not specifically directed at the observer or individual lodging the complaint. Alleged harassment will be evaluated according to the objective standard of a reasonable person. A single, isolated incident of sexual or gender-based harassment may, based on the facts and circumstances, create a hostile environment.

(see Sexual Assault or Non-Consensual Sexual Contact)

refers to any act of physical, sexual, an/or psychological harm against an individual by a current or former intimate or romantic partner, or by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common. Intimate or romantic partners may be dating, cohabitating, married, separate or divorced, and may be of the same or different sex. Dating violence and domestic violence are both considered “relationship violence” under this Policy.

refers to the person alleged to have committed the prohibited conduct.

refers to any act of intimidation against individuals who, in good faith, assert their rights to bring a complaint under this Policy, including individuals who file a third-person report, or participate in an investigation, or protest the alleged conduct or retaliation. Retaliation can take many forms, including sustained abuse or violence, threats, and intimidation. Any individual or group of individuals, not just a Respondent or Complainant, can be responsible for retaliation. Retaliation is considered a separate offense from the original complaint, and will be considered independently from the merits of the underlying complaint.

Depending on the nature of the allegations, additional charges under the Code of Student Conduct may also apply.

refers to any one or more of the following acts:

  • Touching of an unwilling or non-consenting person’s intimate parts (such as genitalia, groin, breast, buttocks, or mouth under or over a person’s clothes).
  • Touching an unwilling person or non-consenting person with one’s own intimate parts.
  • Forcing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts.
  • Penetrating an unwilling person orally, anally, or vaginally with any object or body part. This includes, but is not limited to, penetration of a bodily opening without consent, through the use of coercion, or through exploitation of another’s inability to give consent.
  • Penetrating an unwilling person orally, anally, or vaginally with any object or body part by use of force, threat, and/or intimidation.

refers to non-consensual abuse or exploitation of another person’s sexuality for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit or advantage, or any other non-legitimate purpose. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe nudity or sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all participants;
  • Non-consensual streaming of images, photography, video or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all participants;
  • Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; or
  • Inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.

Depending on the circumstances of a particular case, sexual exploitation may also violate the provision of the Code of Student Conduct prohibiting Invasion of Privacy.

refers to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct, or communication of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s education, educational or campus life activities; or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or student life decisions affecting that individual; or
  • Such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s education or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive campus, work or living environment.

Sexual harassment may be committed by anyone regardless of gender identity and may occur between members of the same or different sex.

refers to threatening behavior of a sexual nature directed at another person or group that reasonably leads the target(s) to fear for their physical well-being or to engage in sexual conduct for self-protection, such as threatening to sexually assault another person or engaging in indecent exposure.

refers to any course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to be fearful of serious harm or danger to themselves or to individuals close to them. Examples of stalking include:

  • Non-consensual communication and physical contact
  • Following or pursuing the other person
  • Waiting or showing up at locations visited by the other person
  • Spying on a person
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism
  • Gathering of information about a person from others
  • Manipulating and controlling behaviors such as threats to harm oneself or threats to harm the victim or someone close to the victim