Key Definitions

Sexual harassment is unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic status;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual influences employment or academic status decisions affecting that individual; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's work, academic performance, student life or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work, academic, or student life environment.

Sexual assault is any nonconsensual sexual contact or intercourse, whether it is unforced or forced. This includes any contact with intimate body parts of an individual. It is also penetration, however slight, of any intimate body part with a body part or an object

Consent is explicit, informed, voluntary and mutually understandable communication to willingly participate in specific sexual activity without pressure, threats, coercion, force or intimidation. Either person must also be able to withdraw consent and cease any sexual activity at any time. A current relationship, having previous sexual encounters, or silence from the individual may not be taken as an indication of consent. Similarly, a passive response or sexual advances that are not resisted physically or verbally do not constitute consent. Someone who is not of legal age, has a mental disorder, or is physically or mentally incapacitated may not give consent. The use of alcohol or drugs may render an individual incapable of giving consent due to impaired judgment and the inability to make decisions or communicate intentions. Consent may not be given by someone who is unconscious or unaware, or for any reason is unable to communicate her/his intentions.

Domestic violence (as defined by the Violence Against Women Act) is the use of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or threats to control another person who is a current or former spouse or other intimate partner, such as a boyfriend or girlfriend. It includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse 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 receiving grant monies, 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.

Dating violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of: (1) the length of the relationship, (2) the type of the relationship, and (3) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence is a pattern of assaultive and controlling behaviors that one person uses against another in order to gain or maintain power and control in the relationship. The abuser intentionally behaves in ways that cause fear, degradation and humiliation to control the other person. Forms of abuse can be physical, verbal, sexual, emotional and psychological.

Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: (1) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (2) suffer substantial emotional distress.

Unwelcomed or unwanted attention may not always reach the level of stalking, but could include repetitive communication and/or behaviors that can make an individual feel uncomfortable to some degree.

Sexual exploitation occurs when a student takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the one being exploited, and the behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses.