Sexual Misconduct

Policy and Procedure

Nebraska state law defines various violent and/or nonconsensual sexual acts as crimes. Additionally, Central Community College has defined categories of sexual misconduct for which action under this policy may be imposed. Generally speaking, the college considers nonconsensual sexual intercourse violations to be the most serious and therefore typically imposes the most severe sanctions, including suspension or expulsion for students and termination for employees. However, the college reserves the right to impose any level of sanction, ranging from a reprimand up to suspension or expulsion/termination, for any act of sexual misconduct or other gender-based offenses, including intimate partner or relationship (dating and/or domestic) violence, nonconsensual sexual contact and stalking based on the facts and circumstances of the particular grievance.

Acts of sexual misconduct are defined as an action committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, gender, sexual orientation and/or gender identity of those involved. Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function to excuse any behavior.

Sexual Harassment 

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the state of Nebraska regard Sexual Harassment, a specific form of discriminatory harassment, as an unlawful discriminatory practice. Central Community College has adopted the following definition of Sexual Harassment in order to address the unique environment of an academic community.  Acts of sexual harassment may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity of those involved. Sexual Harassment, as an umbrella category, includes the offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and is defined as:

Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  1. Quid Pro Quo:
    • an employee of the Central Community College,
    • conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the Central Community College,
    • on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; and/or
  2. Sexual Harassment:
    • unwelcome conduct, 
    • determined by a reasonable person,
    • to be so severe, and
    • pervasive, and,
    • objectively offensive, 
    • that it effectively denies a person equal access to Central Community College’s education program or activity.[1]
  3. Sexual assault, defined as:
    • Sex Offenses, Forcible:
      • Any sexual act directed against another person, 
      • without the consent of the Complainant, 
      • including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent.
    • Forcible Rape:
      • Penetration, 
      • no matter how slight, 
      • of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or
      • oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, 
      • without the consent of the Complainant.
    • Forcible Sodomy:
      • Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, 
      • forcibly,
      • and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually), or 
      • not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age[2] or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    • Sexual Assault with an Object:
      • The use of an object or instrument to penetrate, 
      • however slightly,
      • the genital or anal opening of the body of another person,
      • forcibly,
      • and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually),
      • or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    • Forcible Fondling:
      • The touching of the private body parts of another person (buttocks, groin, breasts),
      • for the purpose of sexual gratification,
      • forcibly,
      • and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually),
      • or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    • Sex Offenses, Non-forcible:
      • Incest:
        • Non-forcible sexual intercourse,
        • between persons who are related to each other,
        • within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by Nebraska law. 
      • Statutory Rape:
        • Non-forcible sexual intercourse,
        • with a person who is under the statutory age of consent of 16 years old, per Nebraska law.
  4. Dating Violence, defined as:
    • violence,
    • on the basis of sex,
    • committed by a person,
    • who is in or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant.
      • The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the Complainant’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition—
      • Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
      • Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
  5. Domestic Violence, defined as:
    • violence,
    • on the basis of sex,
    • committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant,
    • by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common, or
    • by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, or
    • by any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Nebraska.
      *To categorize an incident as Domestic Violence, the relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant must be more than just two people living together as roommates. The people cohabitating must be current or former spouses or have an intimate relationship.
  6. Stalking, defined as:
    • engaging in a course of conduct,
    • on the basis of sex,
    • directed at a specific person, that
      • would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety, or
      • the safety of others; or
      • Suffer substantial emotional distress.
    • For the purposes of this definition—
      • Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the Respondent directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
      • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the Complainant.
      • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling. 

-As used in the offenses above, the following definitions and understandings apply:

Force: Force is the use of physical violence and/or physical imposition to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that is intended to overcome resistance or produce consent (e.g., “Have sex with me or I’ll hit you,” “Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”).

Sexual activity that is forced is, by definition, non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not necessarily forced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. Consent is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. While resistance is not required or necessary, it is a clear demonstration of non-consent.

Coercion: Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive conduct differs from seductive conduct based on factors such as the type and/or extent of the pressure used to obtain consent. When someone makes clear that they do not want to engage in certain sexual activity, 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.

Consent is:

  • knowing, and
  • voluntary, and
  • clear permission
  • by word or action
  • to engage in sexual activity.

Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to determine that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. 

If consent is not clearly provided prior to engaging in the activity, consent may be ratified by word or action at some point during the interaction or thereafter, but clear communication from the outset is strongly encouraged. 

For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Reasonable reciprocation can be implied. For example, if someone kisses you, you can kiss them back (if you want to) without the need to explicitly obtain their consent to being kissed back. 

Consent can also be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity should cease within a reasonable time.

Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. 

Proof of consent or non-consent is not a burden placed on either party involved in an incident. Instead, the burden remains on the Central Community College to determine whether its policy has been violated. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced. 

Consent in relationships must also be considered in context. When parties consent to BDSM[3] or other forms of kink, non-consent may be shown by the use of a safe word. Resistance, force, violence, or even saying “no” may be part of the kink and thus consensual, so Central Community College’s evaluation of communication in kink situations will be guided by reasonableness, rather than strict adherence to policy that assumes non-kink relationships as a default.