Title IX Definitions

For purposes of this policy, the following terms have the definitions provided below. Please note that some of these terms may also be used in other contexts.

Complainant

An individual who reportedly experienced sexual misconduct, regardless of whether that individual participates in the disclosure or review of that report by the University at any point. Consent

Sexual activity requires consent, which is defined as positive, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement to engage in specific sexual activity throughout a sexual encounter. Consent cannot be inferred from the absence of a “no”; a clear “yes,” verbal or otherwise, is necessary. Lack of protest does not imply consent. Consent to some sexual acts does not imply consent to others, nor does past consent to a given act imply present, continued or future consent. Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter and can be revoked at any time. Consent cannot be obtained by physical force, threats, intimidation, or coercion. Agreement under such circumstances does not constitute consent. Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or some other condition. A person is mentally or physically incapacitated when that person lacks the ability to make or act on considered decisions to engage in sexual activity. If at any time during a sexual interaction any confusion or ambiguity should arise on the issue of consent, it is incumbent upon each individual involved in the activity to stop and clarify the other's willingness to continue. Engaging in sexual activity with a person whom you know – or reasonably should know – to be incapacitated constitutes sexual misconduct. Guidance regarding Sexual Consent: Consent can only be accurately gauged through direct communication about the decision to engage in sexual activity. Presumptions based upon factors (such as but not limited to: clothing, alcohol consumption, or inappropriate bodily gestures) are unwarranted, and should not be considered as evidence for consent. Although consent does not need to be verbal, verbal communication is the most reliable form of asking for and gauging consent, and you are thus urged to seek consent in verbal form. Talking with sexual partners about desires and limits may seem awkward, but serves as the basis for positive sexual experiences shaped by mutual respect and willingness.

Incapacitation

This term is defined as lacking the physical and/or mental ability to make informed and rational decisions or judgments. This term includes, but is not limited, to the following: persons, who are intoxicated, passed out, or asleep. Use of alcohol or drugs shall not diminish one's responsibility to obtain consent and does not excuse conduct that constitutes sexual misconduct under this policy.

Investigator

An appropriately trained individual who may be a University employee, who reviews and investigates reports of sexual misconduct under this policy.

Reporter

This is an individual who reports to the University a concern regarding a possible sexual misconduct. The Reporter need not be a Complainant. Without a statement from the actual Complainant, an investigation may be limited in its scope. Respondent A university student or participant in a University program, who is reported to have allegedly engaged in some form of sexual misconduct and/or has been charged with a violation of the sexual misconduct policy.

Sexual Misconduct

Umbrella term used to encompass unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a Sexual nature that is committed without valid consent, including sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. Sexual misconduct may occur between people of the same sex or between people of different sexes. Sexual misconduct can include both intentional conduct and conduct that result in negative effects, even if those negative effects were unintended. Sexual misconduct can also include retaliation in connection with a Complainant’s or Reporter’s allegations under this policy.

Sexual Assault

Is defined as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities such as forced sexual intercourse, unwanted or unwelcome touching of a sexual nature, including hugging, kissing, fondling, oral sex, anal or vaginal intercourse, or other physical sexual activity that occurs without valid consent. Some examples of sexual assault, but are not limited to:

  • Someone had sex/inappropriate sexual contact with you while you were incapacitated from alcohol or drugs. You may have been asleep, passed out, too intoxicated to know what was happening, or have the ability to stop their actions.
  • You agreed through words or actions to do one thing, but were forced to do more.
  • You were kissing someone, and the physical intimacy escalated. You said no, but the other person continued. You did not willingly participate. The other person had sex with you anyway.
  • An individual forced you to have sex when you did not want to.
  • An individual refused to use a condom even though clearly communicated to use one.

Sexual Harassment

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature if: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s education, living environment, employment, or participation in a University-related activity or University Program; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for or a factor in decisions affecting that individual’s education, living environment, employment, or participation in a University-related activity; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or abusive environment for that individual’s education, living environment, employment, or participation in a University-related activity. Examples may include, but are not limited to, the following: unwanted sexual statements; unwanted personal attention including stalking and cyber-stalking; unwanted physical or sexual advances that would constitute sexual assault, as defined in this policy; electronically recording, photographing, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds, or images without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; touching oneself sexually for others to view; and voyeurism (spying on others who are in intimate or sexual situations). Some examples of sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to:

  • Unwelcome jokes, comments, erotic material, language, flirtation, advances or propositions that are frequent and may occur within the classroom, workplace, residence/ room and on/off campus.
  • An individual won’t stop calling, texting, following you or showing up at your residence/room, place of work, or any location on/off campus, even after you have asked them to stop.
  • Your Professor, Supervisor or an individual of authority makes frequent sexual jokes, comments, stares at you, inappropriate touching or insinuates that you will receive a better grade or other reward if you develop a special relationship.
  • An individual/neighbor in your residence/room places sexually graphic material and/or verbiage on your door/personal residence and/or personal property.

Domestic Violence

Includes violent offenses committed by the complainant’s current or former spouse or significant other, current or former roommate/cohabitant, person similarly situated or protected under domestic or family violence law.

Dating/Relationship Violence

This term is defined as the use of physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, stalking, or other forms of emotional, sexual or economic abuse used to control a partner in an intimate relationship constitute intimate partner violence. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. Intimate partner violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior in relationships. Intimate partner relationships are defined as short or long-term relationships (current or former) between persons intended to provide some emotional/romantic and/or physical intimacy.

Stalking

This term is defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her or his safety, for the safety of a third person, or to feel extreme emotional distress, bodily injury or death. Stalking behaviors include, but are not limited to: non-consensual communication by any means, collecting information by any means, use of surveillance in person or via electronic means (telephone, mail, email, text, social networking or any other like method), collecting information about a person’s routine, friends, family, or coworkers, uninvited visits to a residence, workplace, classroom, worship location, or other locations where an individual is commonly found.

1. “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, surveys, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.

2. “Emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or distress that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

3. “Reasonable person” means a reasonable person in the victim’s circumstances.

Support Person

An individual chosen by a Complainant, Respondent or Reporter, to provide support during the review of a report and/or during the hearing process of possible sexual misconduct. The person(s) chosen may not already be directly involved in the investigative process (for example, a witness, or Reporter) and may not speak on behalf of the person they are supporting, but instead may be present only to assist or advise the individual they are supporting, in a non-advocacy role.

Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) (20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.; 34 C.F.R. Part 106) (as amended) is a federal law that prohibits sexbased discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, in education programs that receive federal financial assistance.