Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity. In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age, at least 18 years old.
In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear, knowing and voluntary consent prior to and during sexual activity. Consent is sexual permission. Consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is not as clear as talking about what you want sexually and what you don’t. Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity. Silence without actions demonstrating permission cannot be assumed to show consent.
Additionally, there is a difference between seduction and coercion. Coercing someone into sexual activity violates this policy in the same way as physically forcing someone into sex. Coercion happens when someone is pressured unreasonably for sex. Current or previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.
Because alcohol or other drug use can place the capacity to consent in question, sober sex is less likely to raise such questions. When alcohol or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. Under this policy, “no” always means“no,” but “yes” may not always mean “yes.” Anything but a clear, knowing and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a “no.”
Domestic / Dating Violence
Domestic violence or dating violence is defined as violence against a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship (for domestic violence the violence would be against a current or former spouse or cohabitant) with the accused individual. It can take the form of controlling, abusive and/or aggressive behavior on any form of romantic relations. Examples of domestic/dating violence include:
- Verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
- Controlling what you wear, who you talk with, where you are at all times
- Threatening to hurt you, someone you care about, or himself/herself
- Shoving, pushing, kicking, or any other form of physical abuse
Force is the use of physical violence and /or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent (ex. “Have sex with me or I’ll hit you.” “Okay, don’t hit me; I’ll do what you want.”).
Gender-based harassment is defined as acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, stalking, or hostility based on gender or gender-stereotyping. The conduct must be such that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive learning, living or working environment. Gender-based harassment can occur if individuals are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.
Gender-based misconduct comprises a broad range of behaviors focused on sex and/or gender discrimination that may or may not be sexual in nature. Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of sex and/or gender, would be gender-based misconduct.
Incapacitation is defined as someone or something is unable to work, move, or function in the usual way. To be incapacitated is to be deprived of power, strength, or legal capacity.
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
Non-consensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, that is without consent and/or by force. However, non-consensual sexual contact does not require physical force. Regardless of how an individual may represent his or her age, by law, anyone under 18 years of age cannot provide legal consent to any sexual act.
Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse
Non-consensual sexual intercourse is any sexual intercourse however slight, with any object that is without consent and/or by force. As with non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse does not require physical force. By law, anyone under 18 years of age cannot provide legal consent to any sexual act.
Sexual Exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct/harassment offenses.
Sexual Harassment is unwelcome, gender-based, verbal or physical conduct which is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, denying or limiting someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program and/or activities, or their employment with the college, or their receipt of services or housing from the college.
Sexual Misconduct encompasses a range of behavior used to obtain sexual gratification against another's will or at the expense of another. It includes sexual harassment, sexual assault and any conduct of a sexual nature that is without consent, or has the effect of threatening or intimidating the person against whom such conduct is directed.
Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:
a) Fear for the person’s safety of the safety of others; or
b) Suffer substantial emotional distress.
For the purpose of this definition:
Course of conduct means two or more acts, including but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly or through third parties, by any action, method, device or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens or communicates to or about, a person or interferes with a person’s property.
Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.