Office of Civility

Key Terms & Definitions

These are definitions of key terms from the policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct Including Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Sexual Violence, Interpersonal Violence and Stalking.

Coercion

Includes conduct, intimidation, and express or implied threats of physical or emotional harm, that would reasonably place an individual in fear of immediate or future harm and that is employed to persuade or compel someone to engage in Sexual Contact. Examples of coercion include causing the deliberate incapacitation of another person; conditioning an academic benefit or employment advantage on submission to the Sexual Contact; threatening to harm oneself if the other party does not engage in Sexual Contact; or threatening to disclose an individual’s Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or other personal sensitive information if the other party does not engage in the Sexual Contact. Also see Force.

Complicity

Any act that knowingly aids, facilitates, promotes, or encourages the commission of Prohibited Conduct by another person.

Consent

The communication of an affirmative, conscious and freely-made decision by each participant to engage in agreed upon forms of Sexual Contact. Consent requires an outward demonstration, through understandable words or actions that conveys a clear willingness to engage in Sexual Contact.

  • Consent is not to be inferred from silence, passivity, or a lack of resistance, and relying on non- verbal communication alone may result in a violation of this Policy. For example, a person who does not physically resist or verbally refuse Sexual Contact may not necessarily be giving Consent. There is no requirement that an individual verbally or physically resist unwelcome Sexual Contact for there to be a violation of this Policy.
  • Consent is not to be inferred from an existing or previous dating or sexual relationship. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutual Consent to engage in Sexual Contact.
  • Consent to one form of Sexual Contact does not constitute Consent to any other form of Sexual Contact, nor does Consent to Sexual Contact with one person constitute Consent to Sexual Contact with any other person. Additionally, Consent to Sexual Contact on one occasion is not Consent to engage in Sexual Contact on another occasion.
  • Consent cannot be obtained by Coercion or Force or by taking advantage of one’s inability to give Consent because of Incapacitation or other circumstances. Coercion or Force and Incapacitation are described in more detail below.
  • A person who has given Consent to engage in Sexual Contact may withdraw Consent at any time. However, withdrawal of Consent requires an outward demonstration, through understandable words or actions that clearly conveys that a party is no longer willing to engage in Sexual Contact. Once Consent is withdrawn, the Sexual Contact must cease immediately.
  • Also see Incapacitation and the discussion of intoxication in the Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct Including Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Sexual Violence, Interpersonal Violence and Stalking.

Discrimination

Any unlawful distinction, preference, or detriment to an individual as compared to others that is based on an individual’s Protected Status and that is sufficiently serious to unreasonably interfere with or limit:

  • An employee’s or applicant for employment’s access to employment or conditions and benefits of employment (e.g., hiring, advancement, assignment);
  • A student’s or admission applicant’s ability to participate in, access, or benefit from educational programs, services, or activities (e.g., admission, academic standing, grades, assignment, campus housing);
  • An authorized volunteer’s ability to participate in a volunteer activity; or
  • A guest’s or visitor’s ability to participate in, access, or benefit from the College’s programs.

Discrimination includes failing to provide reasonable accommodations, consistent with state and federal law, to a qualified person with a disability.

Force

Includes conduct, intimidation, and express or implied threats of physical or emotional harm, that would reasonably place an individual in fear of immediate or future harm and that is employed to persuade or compel someone to engage in Sexual Contact. Examples of Force include causing the deliberate incapacitation of another person; conditioning an academic benefit or employment advantage on submission to the Sexual Contact; threatening to harm oneself if the other party does not engage in Sexual Contact; or threatening to disclose an individual’s Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or other personal sensitive information if the other party does not engage in the Sexual Contact. Also see Coercion.

Harassment

A type of Discrimination that occurs when verbal, physical, electronic, or other conduct based on an individual’s Protected Status interferes with that individual’s (a) educational environment (e.g., admission, academic standing, grades, assignment); (b) work environment (e.g., hiring, advancement, assignment); (c) participation in a College program or activity (e.g., campus housing); or (d) receipt of legitimately-requested services (e.g., disability or religious accommodations), thereby creating Hostile Environment Harassment or Quid Pro Quo Harassment.

Hostile Environment Harassment

Unwelcome conduct based on Protected Status that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it alters the conditions of education, employment, or participation in a College program or activity, thereby creating an environment that a reasonable person in similar circumstances and with similar identities would find hostile, intimidating, or abusive. An isolated incident, unless sufficiently severe, does not amount to Hostile Environment Harassment.

Incapacitation

An individual who is incapacitated is unable to give Consent to Sexual Contact. States of incapacitation include sleep, unconsciousness, intermittent consciousness, or any other state where the individual is unaware that Sexual Contact is occurring. Incapacitation may also exist because of a mental or developmental disability that impairs the ability to Consent to Sexual Contact. Alcohol or drug use is one of the prime causes of incapacitation. Where alcohol or drug use is involved,

Incapacitation is a state beyond intoxication, impairment in judgment, or “drunkenness.” Because the impact of alcohol or other drugs varies from person to person, evaluating whether an individual is  Incapacitated, and therefore unable to give Consent, requires an assessment of whether the consumption of alcohol or other drugs has rendered the individual physically helpless or substantially incapable of:

  • Making decisions about the potential consequences of Sexual Contact;
  • Appraising the nature of one’s own conduct;
  • Communicating Consent to Sexual Contact; or
  • Communicating unwillingness to engage in Sexual Contact.

Interpersonal Violence

Commonly referred to as intimate partner violence, dating violence, domestic violence and relationship violence, can encompass a broad range of abusive behavior committed by a person who is or has been:

  • In a romantic or intimate relationship with the Reporting Party(of the same or different sex);
  • The Reporting Party’s spouse or partner (of the same or different sex);
  • The Reporting Party’s family member; or
  • The Reporting Party’s cohabitant or household member, including a roommate.

Whether there was such relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction. Reports of Interpersonal Violence that do not involve one of these specified relationships or do not involve an individual’s Protected Status will be resolved under the Honor Code, which is part of the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance.

Interpersonal Violence includes physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that a reasonable person in similar circumstances and with similar identities would find intimidating, frightening, terrorizing, or threatening. Such behaviors may include threats of violence to one’s self, one’s family member, or one’s pet.

Preponderance of the Evidence

Means that it is more likely than not that the conduct occurred.

Protected Status

Consistent with federal and state law, the College prohibits Discrimination and Harassment based on age, color, creed, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

  • Age: The number of years from the date of a person’s birth. With respect to employment, individuals who are forty (40) years of age or older are protected from Discrimination and Harassment. There is no age threshold for students or other participants in educational programs or activities.
  • Color: An individual’s skin pigmentation, complexion, shade, or tone.
  • Creed: A well-formed and thought-out set of beliefs held by more than one individual, which may not necessarily involve belief in a supreme being. The College will accommodate an individual’s observances and practices required by their creed, unless it is unable to reasonably accommodate an individual’s creed-required observance or practice without undue hardship.
  • Disability: A person with a disability is any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such impairment. A qualified person with a disability must be able to perform the essential functions of the employment or volunteer position or the academic, athletic, or extra-curricular program, with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Gender: An individual’s socially-constructed status based on the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with societal attribution of masculinity and femininity, typically related to one’s assigned sex at birth.
  • Gender Expression: How someone expresses gender through appearance, behavior, or mannerisms. A person’s Gender Expression may or may not be the same as the Gender Identity or assigned sex at birth.
  • Gender Identity: The Gender with which an individual identifies psychologically, regardless of what Gender was assigned at birth.
  • Genetic Information: Information about (i) an individual’s genetic tests, (ii) the genetic tests of family members of such individual, and (iii) the manifestation of a disease or disorder in family members of such individual. Genetic Information includes, with respect to any individual, any request for, or receipt of, genetic services, or participation in clinical research that includes genetic services by such individual or any family member of such individual.
  • National Origin: An individual’s actual or perceived country or ethnicity of origin.
  • Race: An individual’s actual or perceived racial or ethnic ancestry or physical characteristics associated with a person’s race, such as a person’s color, hair, facial features, height, and weight.
  • Religion: All aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.
  • Sex: An individual’s biological status of male or female, including pregnancy. Conduct of a sexual nature is by definition based on Sex as a Protected Status.
  • Sexual Orientation: The inclination or capacity to develop intimate emotional, spiritual, physical, and/or sexual relationships with people of the same Sex or Gender, a different Sex or Gender, or irrespective of Sex or Gender.
  • Veteran Status: Covered Veterans include Disabled Veterans, Special Disabled Veterans, Veterans of the Vietnam era, and other protected Veterans as defined by federal and state law.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Unwelcome conduct based on Protected Status where submission to or rejection of such conduct is used, explicitly or implicitly, as the basis for decisions affecting an individual’s education, employment, or participation in a College program or activity.

Retaliation

Acts or words taken against an individual because of the individual’s participation in a protected activity that would discourage a reasonable person from engaging in protected activity.

Protected activity includes an individual’s good faith:

  • Participation in the reporting, Investigation, or resolution of an alleged violation of this Policy
  • Opposition to policies, practices, or actions that the individual reasonably believes are in violation of the Policy
  • Requests for accommodations on the basis of religion or disability

Retaliation may include intimidation, threats, coercion, or adverse employment or educational actions. Retaliation may be found even when an underlying report made in good faith was not substantiated. Retaliation may be committed by the Responding Party, the Reporting Party or any other individual or group of individuals.

Sexual Assault

A form of Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment that involves having or attempting to have Sexual Contact with another individual without Consent.

Sexual Contact

Intentional touching or penetration of another person’s clothed or unclothed body, including but not limited to the mouth, neck, buttocks, anus, genitalia, or breast, by another with any part of the body or any object in a sexual manner. Sexual Contact also includes causing another person to touch their own or another’s body in the manner described above.

Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment

May include:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, physical, or electronic conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment;
  • Verbal, physical, or electronic conduct based on Sex, Gender, Sexual Orientation, or sex- stereotyping that creates a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature; or
  • Harassment for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for one’s Sex or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity, regardless of the actual or perceived Sex, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression of the individuals involved.

Sexual Violence

A form of Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment that involves having or attempting to have Sexual Contact with another individual without Consent.

Stalking

Repeated, unwanted attention; physical, verbal, or electronic contact; or any other course of conduct directed at an individual that is sufficiently serious to cause physical, emotional, or psychological fear or to create a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment for a reasonable  person in similar circumstances and with similar identities. Stalking may involve individuals who are known to one another or who have a current or previous relationship or may involve individuals who are strangers.