What is consent?

Consent is defined as positive cooperation. Consent is informed, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. When people consent to sexual activity, they will have indicated, verbally or otherwise, that they are participating willingly, freely and voluntarily. Consent is an ongoing process in any sexual interaction. Consent may be withdrawn at any time during a sexual interaction. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.

If you have sexual activity with someone you know to be – or should know to be – mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or passed out), you are in violation of university policy. Incapacitation is a state where one cannot make a rational, reasonable decision because he or she lacks the ability to understand the who, what, when, where, why or how of the sexual interaction.

Sexual misconduct is defined as any sexual act perpetrated upon a person:

1. without his or her consent; or
2. where the assailant uses physical force, threat, coercion or intimidation to overpower or control the victim/survivor; or
3. where the victim/survivor fears that she or he or another person will be injured or otherwise harmed if she or he does not submit; or
4. where the victim/survivor has an impaired ability to give or withhold consent due to the influence of alcohol or other drugs; or
5. where consent is otherwise not freely given.

A sexual act includes, but is not limited to, actual or attempted intercourse, sexual touching, fondling and groping.

Students should understand that the following circumstances apply to any violation of the university Code of Conduct against sexual misconduct, or any other kind of sexual misconduct by an individual student or in concert with others:

• Sexual activity and behavior which is not consensual is defined as sexual misconduct whether the assailant is a stranger or an acquaintance of the complainant;
• Intoxication of the accused does not diminish his or her responsibility for a sexual misconduct act;
• In situations where the complainant is incapacitated or incapable of giving consent, which includes but is not limited to when the complainant is unable to consent due to consumption of alcohol or drugs, the accused is responsible for misconduct if the accused sexually violates the complainant.