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Consent and Prohibited Conduct


The voluntary and knowing consent of all parties to any sexual activity is crucial. “Consent” is defined as clear, unambiguous, voluntary, positive agreement between the participants, to engage in specific sexual activity. Additionally:

  • Consent to sexual activity can be communicated in a variety of ways, but one should presume that consent has not been given in the absence of clear, positive agreement.
  • Consent must be clear and unambiguous for each participant at every stage of a sexual encounter.
  • Silence, or the absence of resistance, does not imply consent.
  • A prior relationship or prior consent to sexual activity does not indicate consent to future activity.
  • Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.
  • Consent can also be withdrawn at any time.
  • A person cannot consent to sexual activity if that person is unable to understand the nature of the activity or give knowing consent because they are underage, asleep, unconscious, or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the use of drugs or alcohol, because of a disability, or for any other reason.
  • The manner of dress of the victim at the time of the offense does not constitute consent.
  • Coercion, force, or threat of either invalidates consent.
  • A person who initially consents to sexual penetration or sexual conduct is deemed not to have consented to any sexual penetration or sexual conduct that occurs after they withdraw consent during the course of that sexual penetration or sexual conduct.

When there is a lack of mutual consent about sexual activity or there is ambiguity about whether consent has been given, a student can be alleged to have, and be found responsible for having, committed sexual assault or another form of sexual misconduct.

For additional information regarding consent, please see the Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment Policy.

Prohibited Conduct

The University’s Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment Policy prohibits sex discrimination, which includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation; interpersonal violence, which includes dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking; and retaliation and intimidation.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment, which includes sexual assault and sexual violence, is a type of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX that may take many forms. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and/or other physical, verbal or visual conduct based on sex.

Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence

Sexual assault and sexual violence are particular types of sexual harassment that include physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol. Sexual assault and sexual violence include, but are not necessarily limited to, non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual penetration, and sexual exploitation.

Dating Violence

Dating violence means 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 the following factors: the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and/or the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim, a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or 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.


Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.


Retaliation exists when action is taken against a complainant or participant in the complaint process that (i) adversely affects the individual’s opportunity to benefit from the University’s programs or activities; and (ii) is motivated in whole or in part by the individual’s participation in the complaint process.


Intimidation of any individual undertaken to prevent reporting of violations or cooperating with investigations is also prohibited.

For additional information regarding each of these types of prohibited conduct, please see the Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment Policy.

Reviewed August 2019

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