Important Definitions

III. Definitions

The following are intended as broad definitions, established for purposes of defining University policy:

Sexual violence

Sexual violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g. due to the student’s age or use of drugs or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the student from having the capacity to give consent). A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion. Sexual violence can be carried out by school employees, students, or third parties. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

Sexual assault

  1. Forcible Sexual Offense: involvement in any sexual act with another person, without the consent of the other person, in which there is force which overcomes reasonable resistance; or the threat of force, expressed or implied; or the use of duress or deception.
  2. Nonforcible Sexual Offense: involvement in any sexual act with another person, without the consent of the other person, particularly when the other person is incapacitated by drugs, alcohol, mental deficiency, or other disability.
  3. Nonconsensual Sexual Contact: any intentional touching, without the consent of the other person, of the genitals or anus of any person, or the breast of any female person.
  4. Domestic or dating violence: Domestic or dating violence occurs when one partner tries to maintain power and control over the other through actual or threatened physical or sexual violence, or psychological and emotional abuse. These acts may be directed toward a spouse, an ex-spouse, a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend, or a current or former dating partner.

Sexual harassment

Sexual Harassment includes sexual assault and any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other unwelcome written, verbal, or physical contact of a sexual nature, when:

  1. Submission to such conduct is made, explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s education, employment, or participation in a University program or activity.
  2. Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting that individual’s academic standing, employment status, or participation in a University program or activity.
  3. Hostile environment: such conduct 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, or participation in a University program or activity. The conduct will be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the complainant’s position, considering all the circumstances. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the conduct is physical. A single or isolated incident of sexual violence may create a hostile environment.
  4. Sexual exploitation: 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 the other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include: invasion of sexual privacy, non-consensual video, photographing, or audio-taping of sexual activity, sexually based stalking and/or bullying.
  5. Sexual Related Offenses: a person engages in obscene or indecent behavior that is sexually motivated, including but not limited to indecent exposure and voyeurism. Sexual related offenses may also include bullying, defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior based on sex likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally (that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the First Amendment).

Examples of Sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

  1. Verbal abuse or hostile behavior such as insulting, teasing, mocking, degrading or ridiculing another person or group.
  2. Unwelcome or inappropriate physical contact, comments, questions, advances, jokes, epithets or demands.
  3. Physical assault or stalking.
  4. Displays or electronic transmission of derogatory, demeaning or hostile materials.
  5. Unwillingness to train, evaluate, assist or work with a person.
  6. Engaging in behavior that is invasive or disruptive to another person or employee for the purpose of initiating a sexual or romantic relationship with that person.


Stalking is purposely, through a person’s course of conduct, harassing or following with the intent of harassing another person.


Consent is sexual permission and must be clear, knowing and voluntary. In order to consent effectively to sexual activity an individual must be able to understand “who, what, when, where, why and how” with respect to that sexual activity. Consent or lack of consent may be expressed or implied. 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. Assent does not constitute consent if:

  1. It is given by a person who lacks the mental capacity to authorize the conduct and such mental incapacity is manifest or known to the actor; or
  2. It is given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease or defect, intoxication, a drug-induced state, or any other reason is manifestly unable or known by the actor to be unable to make a reasonable judgment as to the nature or harmfulness of the conduct charged to constitute the offense; or
  3. It is induced by force, duress or deception.


A complainant is anyone who reports an incident of sex discrimination covered by this policy.


A respondent is anyone against whom a report or allegation of sex discrimination covered by this policy is made.