Policy and Procedure
Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary words or actions that give permission for specific sexual activity.
- Consent is active, not passive.
- Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent.
- Consent can be given by words or actions as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.
- Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
- Previous relationship or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.
- Consent can be withdrawn once given as long as that withdrawal is clearly communicated.
- In order to give consent, one must be of legal age.
- Sexual activity with someone you know to be or should know to be incapacitated constitutes a violation of this policy.
Incapacitation can occur mentally or physically from developmental disability, by alcohol or other drug use, or blackout.
The question of what the responding party should have known is objectively based on what a reasonable person in the place of the responding party, sober and exercising good judgment, would have known about the condition of the reporting party.
Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g. to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).
This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, unconsciousness, involuntary physical restraint or from the taking of rape drugs.
Force is direct or indirect use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcomes free will or resistance or that produces consent.
- Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.
- Note: There is no requirement for a party to resist the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition nonconsensual, but nonconsensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.