Section B: Glossary of Key Terms (as used in these SOPs)

Terms that are defined in the Student Conduct Code or other University policy are included below, and linked to the originating document.

“Advisor” – One person selected by the Complainant or Respondent to help the Complainant or Respondent understand and navigate the formal investigative process.

Coercion” – Coercion is the use of an unreasonable amount of pressure to gain sexual access. It is more than an effort to persuade, entice, or attract another person to have sex. An evaluation as to whether pressure for sexual access rises to the level of coercion should take into consideration: (i) the frequency of the application of the pressure, (ii) the intensity of the pressure, (iii) the degree of isolation of the person being pressured, and (iv) the duration of the pressure. A finding of coercion also generally involves either the use of physical force, or the threat of harm. Harm can include, but is not limited to physical harm, harm to social relationships or reputation, financial harm, harm to terms and conditions of employment or academic situation, or other types of leverage created from the explicit or implicit threat of harm.

"Complainant" – the person(s) alleging by formal complaint that they were subjected to the harassment or discrimination.

“Conduct Administrator/Investigator” – A trained and impartial university representative designated to investigate allegations of harassment or discrimination (e.g. gather relevant information and conduct interviews) and make a decision regarding responsibility for a violation based upon a preponderance of the evidence (what more likely occurred based on the information available).

"Contacting" has its common meaning.  It includes, but is not limited to, communicating with or remaining in the physical presence of the other person.

"Contact of a sexual nature" –  for purposes of Sexual Misconduct in the Student Conduct Code means: intentionally touching part of another person’s body that, under the circumstances, a reasonable person would know that the other person regards as an intimate part, including but not limited to the other person’s genitals, breasts, groin, or buttocks, without the consent of the other person; intentionally causing a person to touch an intimate part of another person; or, intentionally causing a person to touch their own intimate part. For this definition, “touching” includes contact made with bodily fluids.

“Day” - The word “day” in these standard operating procedures means “business day”, Monday through Friday between 8:00am and 6:00pm, excluding holidays, unless specified otherwise. When a deadline or due date falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline or due date will be considered to be the following business day.

"Director" – Director and Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards throughout refer to both the Director as well as their designee, including the Conduct Administrator assigned to investigate allegations of prohibited discrimination and harassment.

“Disclosure” – Information disclosed by a student or employee to anyone affiliated with the University regarding an experience of sex or gender-based discrimination, harassment or violence. This does not necessarily constitute a report to the University.

"Explicit Consent"  For purposes of Sexual Misconduct in the Student Conduct Code means voluntary, non-coerced and clear communication indicating a willingness to engage in a particular act. “Explicit consent” includes an affirmative verbal response or voluntary acts unmistakable in their meaning.

“Failure to Comply” – If a student or other participant in the Formal Process acting on behalf of the student (e.g. an advisor, private investigator) fails to comply with the procedures set forth in this policy and procedure, including a breach of the privacy requirements set forth in Section C(II)(3), the University reserves the right to terminate the Formal Process and use an alternative means to resolve the allegations, and/or to exclude a participant from further participation in the Formal Process. The Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director are responsible for interpreting this provision. The Formal Process will not be terminated nor will a participant be excluded without providing advance written notice and affording an opportunity to respond in writing. Nothing in this section is intended to remove the University’s obligation to end the harassment, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects. This section shall not impact a student’s rights under controlling state or federal law.

“Force” – Force is determined by looking at whether there was any physical force/violence, threats, intimidation and/or coercion that may have made an individual do something they would not have otherwise done. If an individual used force to obtain sexual access, they did not obtain explicit consent. This can include “Physical Force.”

"Harassment" as defined under the Student Conduct Code means:

  1. Intentionally subjecting a person to offensive physical contact; 
  2. Unreasonable insults, gestures, or abusive words, in the immediate presence, and directed to, another person that may reasonably cause emotional distress or provoke a violent response (including but not limited to electronic mail, conventional mail, social media and telephone) except to the extent such insults, gestures or abusive words are protected expression; or 
  3. The University’s policy prohibiting sexual harassment specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or gender, sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual assault, dating or domestic violence, sex or gender-based stalking or bullying, and other gendered harassment. “Harassment” as defined under the Student Conduct Code will be interpreted to include sexual harassment as defined by the university’s discrimination complaint and response policy. Sexual harassment and sexual misconduct may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, gender, sexual orientation, and/or gender identify of those involved.
  4. Other types of prohibited discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and sexual harassment as defined by law.

“Honest Participation”All participants and witnesses in this process are obligated to be honest and forthright throughout the process. Any participant or witness who knowingly makes a false statement in connection with the investigation and resolution of the allegations may be subject to disciplinary action. False statements include statements that omit a material fact as well as statements made that the speaker knows to be untrue.

“Incapacitation”— Incapacitation is any state in which a person does not have the capacity to consent to a particular act. Incapacitation can be mental or physical, and can be the result of a permanent condition or can result from a temporary condition such as extreme intoxication from alcohol or other drugs. Drug or alcohol induced incapacitation is a state beyond intoxication in which an individual lacks the capacity to give knowing consent to sexual activity. Consumption of alcohol or drugs is not by itself sufficient to establish incapacitation. Therefore, each incident will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

“Mental Incapacitation” - is established by determining whether the individual was able to meaningfully comprehend the following factors:

  • Who they are.
  • Who the other individual(s) involved in a sexual activity are, and their preexisting relationship (if any) with those individuals.
  • Where they are.
  • What the possible outcomes, both positive and negative, of engaging in sexual activity with the other individuals might be.
  • The general likeliness of each possible outcome.
  • Whether the individual was able to make a rational, reasonable decision to engage in sexual activity.

Some indications of drug and alcohol induced incapacitation include (but are not limited to):

  • Inability to speak coherently.
  • Inability to walk unassisted.
  • Vomiting.
  • Glassy or bloodshot eyes.
  • Inability to keep eyes open.
  • Extremely unusual or outlandish behavior.
  • Confusion or lack of understanding of basic facts.
  • Disorientation to place, time and/or location.
  • “Blackout” or “Brownouts” resulting in complete or partial loss of memory.
  • Unconsciousness.

These signs alone (with the exception of unconsciousness) do not necessarily indicate mental incapacitation. The above factors can help to establish incapacitation by providing insight into a person’s capacity to provide knowing consent at the time sexual activity occurred. In some circumstances, a person in a blackout state can appear to be conscious when they are actually incapacitated and unable to consent, although the presence of a blackout or brownout alone is not sufficient to establish incapacitation.

“Physical Incapacitation” - can be caused by drug or alcohol consumption, but can also be caused by medical conditions, disability, or other causes. Physical incapacitation assessed through evidence of a person’s ability to control their physical movement at the time a sexual activity occurred.Engaging in sexual activity with someone a person knew or should have known was incapacitated is a violation of the Student Conduct Code regardless of whether the person appeared to be a willing participant. Whether a person should have known that another was incapacitated is established by whether a similarly situated, sober, reasonable person would have known the person was incapacitated. It is the responsibility of any individual who wants to engage in sexual activity to make sure that the other individual(s) involved is able to consent. Failure to do so could lead to disciplinary and/or legal action.

Intimidation” – To force into or deter from some action by inducing fear.

“Notification/Notice”Unless otherwise noted in these SOPs, the official method of communication with all students and witnesses or other involved individuals is by University email. All students and employees of the University are expected to check their email and are responsible for the understanding the content of those emails. Once a communication has been sent to a student or employee’s University email, then the University considers that person to have received notice of the communication.

If an involved individual does not have a University email, then the individual will receive communications through an identified preferred method such as phone call, other email, first-class mail etc.

“Party” or “Participant”– any individual or group identified as a Complainant, Non-Participating Complainant Respondent, Witness or other participant in the formal process.

"Penetration" – for purposes of Sexual Misconduct in the Student Conduct Code means any degree of insertion, however slight, by any body part or object into the oral, anal, or vaginal parts of a person.

Physical Force” – Power, violence, or pressure directed against an individual consisting in a physical act.

“Physical Helplessness” for purposes of Sexual Misconduct in the Student Conduct Code means that a person is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in an act

"Prohibited Discrimination" – Any act that either in form or operation, and whether intended or unintended, unreasonably discriminates among individuals on the basis of age, race, color, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, religion, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or the use of leave protected by state or federal law.  ”Unintended discrimination” is a concept applicable only to situations where a policy, requirement, or regularized practice, although neutral on its face, can be shown to have disparately impacted members of a protected class.  The concept is inapplicable to sexual or other forms of harassment, which, by definition, result from volitional actions.

“Relevant Information” – These procedures require students and witnesses to comply with requests by the Administrator for information that the Administrator has determined are potentially relevant to allegations. Relevant information means any information the student or witness may have observed, heard, seen or otherwise has direct or indirect knowledge of, and includes materials such as emails, text messages, phone records, snapshots, social media posts, written documents, photos, receipts, records, notes, or any other type of documentation. Relevance is determined by the Administrator.

“Report” Information received officially by the University from a Designated Reporter or Student Directed Employee (at the request of the student or upon assessment that an imminent threat of harm exists), or from a student directly, or from any other source that gives the University actual knowledge that prohibited discrimination or harassment may be occurring.

“Respondent” – The person(s) against whom the complaint is filed.

"Retaliation" – Retaliation is not permitted under University policy or law. Retaliation is defined by the University’s complaint and response policy:

Any act of retaliation against any individual participating in any part of this process may subject the individual engaging in retaliation to further disciplinary procedures including conduct charges for a failure to comply or disruption of University processes. Examples of retaliation include but are not limited to:

  • Discouraging an individual from reporting an incident or filing a complaint;
  • Discouraging a witness from participating in this process;
  • Threatening, intimidating, or harassing a participant in an investigation;
  • Intentionally causing negative consequences for a participant in an investigation;
  • Spreading rumors or other actions that cause damage to a participant’s personal relationships;
  • Not allowing an individual or encouraging others to not allow an individual to participate in usual activities because of their participation in an investigation;
  • Retaliation also includes causing or encouraging a third party to engage in retaliatory behavior.

Any act of retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator or the Director.

 "Sexual Harassment" Sexual Harassment is a type of sex discrimination which is defined as any sexual advance, any request for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

Submission to such advances, requests, or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, academic experience or participation in any university program or activity;

Submission to or rejection of such advances, requests, or conduct by an individual is used as a basis or condition for employment, participation in any university program or activity or academic experience; or

Such conduct is unwelcome and sufficiently severe or pervasive that it interferes with work, participation in any university program or activity and/or academic experience because it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, university or academic environment for the individual who is the subject of such conduct, and where the conduct would have such an effect on a reasonable person who is similarly situated.

Sexual harassment includes sex and gender-based stalking, sex and gender-based harassment and bullying, dating violence, and domestic violence, as defined as follows:

“Sex and gender based stalking” – occurs when, based on a person’s sex or gender: (1) a person knowingly alarms or coerces another person or a member of that person’s immediate family or household by engaging in repeated and unwanted contact with the other person; (2)it is objectively reasonable for a person in the complainant’s situation to have been alarmed or coerced by the contact; and (3)the repeated and unwanted contact causes the complainant reasonable apprehension regarding the personal safety of the complainant or a member of the complainant’s immediate family or household.

Sex and gender-based harassment and bullying” – means any act that: (1) Substantially interferes with work or academic performance; (2) Has the effect of: a. Physically harming a student or employee or damaging their property; b. Knowingly placing a person in reasonable fear of physical harm to the person or damages the person’s property; or c. Creating a hostile environment, including interfering with the psychological well-being of a person; and (3) May be based on, but not be limited to, the sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity of the person.  Gender-based harassment and bullying includes cyberbullying, which means the use of any electronic communication device to perform gender-based harassment or bullying.

Dating Violence” – means violence committed by a person who is 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 the interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purpose of this definition: (1) Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, causing or attempting to cause sexual or physical abuse, placing another in fear of imminent sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse; and (2) Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of Domestic Violence.

“Domestic Violence” – means violence between family or household members. Family or household members means: Spouses or former spouses; adults related by blood, marriage or adoption; persons cohabitating or who have cohabitated; persons in a past or present sexually intimate relationship; unmarried parents of a child. Abuse means: The occurrence of one or more of the following acts within a domestic or dating relationship: a. Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury. b. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly placing another in fear of imminent bodily injury. c. Causing another to engage in involuntary sexual relations by force or threat of force.

"Sexual Misconduct"

  1. Unwanted Penetration is Penetration of another person, or causing the Penetration of another person, when one: 
    1. Does not first obtain Explicit Consent from that person; or 
    2. Knows or should have known the person was incapable of explicit consent by reason of Mental Disorder, Mental Incapacitation, or Physical Helplessness.
  2. Nonconsensual personal contact occurs when a student subjects another person to contact of a sexual nature when a reasonable person would know that such contact would cause emotional distress: 
    1. Without having first obtained Explicit Consent; or 
    2. When he or she knows or should have known the person was incapable of explicit consent by reason of Mental Disorder, Mental Incapacitation, or Physical Helplessness. 
  3. Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is unwelcome and sufficiently severe or pervasive that interferes with work or access to educational benefits and opportunities because it has created an intimidating, hostile, or degrading environment and would have such an effect on a reasonable person of the alleged complainant’s status.
  4. A single episode of behavior that meets a., b., or c. can be sufficient for a finding of sexual misconduct.

"Student"Any person with student status as defined in the Student Conduct Code Section IV.

Threat” – A statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done.

"Unwanted Contact" – Repeated or persistent contact or attempts to contact another person when the contacting person knows or should know that the contact is unwanted by the other person; and 

  1. The contact would cause a reasonable person fear of physical harm; or 
  2. The contacting person knows or should know that the contact substantially impairs the other person’s ability to perform the activities of daily life.

“Witness” – Any individual who has knowledge of or information relevant to the allegations of harassment or discrimination.