Definitions

Reporting Party
A reporting party is anyone who reports an incident or may be the victim of Misconduct covered by this policy.

Respondent
The respondent is anyone who is reported and alleged to have engaged in Misconduct covered by this policy.

Effective Consent

  • Effective consent is informed and freely and actively given.
  • Effective consent cannot result from force, threat, intimidation, coercion or incapacitation.
  • Effective consent cannot be given by minors, mentally disabled individuals, or individuals who are mentally or physically incapacitated (such as by alcohol or other drug use, etc.)—see below.
  • Consent can be communicated by word or action and must be mutually understandable.
  • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
  • Consent at one time does not imply consent to another time.

Incapacitation
When incapacitated, an individual lacks the physical and/or mental ability to make informed, rational judgments (e.g., to understand the "who, what, when, where, why or how" of their sexual interactions) and thus cannot give effective consent to sexual activity. Incapacitation may be temporary or permanent and result from mental disability as well as states including, but not limited to, sleep, unconsciousness, blackouts resulting in memory loss, etc. Incapacitation may also occur in persons who, as a result of alcohol or drug use, appear to be functional or coherent but still may not be able to make a rational decision or give effective consent. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. Keep in mind that under this policy, "no" always means "no," but "yes" may not always mean "yes."

The impact of consuming alcohol or drugs will vary from person to person. Evaluating incapacitation due to the use of substances requires an assessment of each individual. Warning signs that a person may be approaching incapacitation may include slurred speech, vomiting, unsteady gait, odor of alcohol, combativeness, emotional volatility, etc.

Because incapacitation may be difficult to discern, especially where alcohol and drugs are involved, persons are strongly encouraged to err on the side of caution; when in doubt, assume the other person is incapacitated and therefore unable to give effective consent. Being intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol is not a defense to a charge of sexual misconduct.

In evaluating effective consent in cases of alleged incapacitation, the University asks two questions: (1) did the respondent know that the other party was incapacitated? and (2) if not, would a sober, reasonable person in the same situation have known that the other party was incapacitated? If the answer to either of these questions is "YES," effective consent was absent and the conduct by the respondent is likely a violation of this policy.

Reminders and Resources ⇒

Please note: A PDF of the full Policy is available here. Otherwise, continue to click through the links provided to view individual sections of the Policy.