Important Definitions

Important Definitions

Important Definitions

  1. TITLE IX VIOLATIONS
    In accordance with Title IX as interpreted by the United States Department of Education, the College recognizes the following as conduct violations within the meaning of Title IX, provided that the context and circumstances of the conduct fall within the scope of Title IX, including but not limited to that the complainant was in the United States at the time of the alleged conduct, that the complainant is participating in or seeking to participate in the College's education program or activity at the time of the complaint, and that the conduct is alleged to have occurred in the context of the College's education program or activity:

    1. Sexual harassment. "Sexual harassment", as a Title IX Violation, means conduct on the basis of sex, including gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, that satisfies one or more of the following:

      • An employee of the College conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the College on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (commonly referred to as a "quid pro quo");

        or
         
      • Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the College's education program or activity (commonly referred to as a sexually or gender-based "hostile environment").
         
    2. Sexual Assault. Consistent with federal law, the College defines sexual assault as including:

      • Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse. Sexual assault of this type includes the 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 other person.

      • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact. This form of sexual assault includes any intentional touching, however slight, for purposes of sexual gratification, of the private body parts (including genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks) of another person, forcibly and/or against that person's will; or, not forcibly or against the person's will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their youth or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. This may include non-penetrative acts, touching directly or with an object, and/or touching the private body parts of another over clothing.

      • Incest. Non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

      • Statutory Rape. Non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. The statutory age of consent in New York is 17.

    3. Dating Violence. Dating violence refers to violence (including but not limited to sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse) committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the statement of the reporting party with consideration of the following factors: (i) the length of the relationship; (ii) the type of relationship; and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence can include behavior such as coercion, isolation or other forms of emotional, verbal or economic abuse if it reflects a threat of sexual or physical abuse as described above. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
       
    4. Domestic Violence. Domestic violence refers to violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction where the College is located, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction. To categorize an incident as Domestic Violence, the relationship between the responding party 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 as described above.
       
    5. Stalking. Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person on the basis of sex that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purposes of this definition, (i) a "course of conduct" means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the individual 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; (ii) "reasonable person" means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the complainant; and (iii) "substantial emotional distress" means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling. Examples of behavior that may constitute stalking include repeated, intentional following, observing or lying in wait for another; using "spyware" or other electronic means to gain impermissible access to a person's private information; repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications by phone, mail, email, text, etc.; making direct or indirect threats to harm an individual or the individual's relatives, friends, or pets; or damaging or threatening to damage the property of the targeted individual. Stalking that does not occur on the basis of sex may be addressed as a Community Standards Violation as described below.
       
  2. COMMUNITY STANDARDS VIOLATIONS

    The College prohibits the following behavior under circumstances in which a College interest is implicated (such as an impact on individuals as members of the College community). For the purpose of Community Standards Violations, the below conduct is prohibited even if the conduct occurs off-campus, outside the United States, if the complainant is not participating or seeking to participate in the College's education program or activity, or otherwise in circumstances over which the College does not have influence or control, including but not limited to during College academic breaks.

    1. Sexual harassment. "Sexual harassment" means unwelcome conduct which is either of a sexual nature, or which is directed at an individual because of that individual's sex or gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work, academic, or extracurricular performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment, even if the reporting individual is not the intended target of the sexual harassment.

      Harassing conduct can occur in various forms, including:

      • Verbal - Conduct such as unwelcome sexually suggestive, demeaning, or graphic comments; unwelcome verbal sexual advances; using slurs to refer to a person; bullying, yelling or name-calling; refusing to use a person's preferred pronouns or name; or jokes or comments that demean a person on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

      • Physical - Conduct such as unwanted sexual contact or physical sexual advances (e.g., unwanted touching, pinching, patting, kissing, hugging, grabbing, brushing against another person's body or poking another person's body); sexual intimidation through physical threats; or physical threats toward or intimidation of another on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

      • Visual - Conduct such as exposing another person to unwanted pornographic images; creating or displaying pictures, symbols, flags, cartoons, or graffiti that is/are sexually offensive or disparage(s) another person or group based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

      • Communication-based - Conduct such as phone calls, e-mails, text messages, chats, blogs or online communications that offend, demean, or intimidate another on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Members of the community are expected to be good digital citizens and to refrain from online misconduct, such as feeding anonymous gossip sites, sharing inappropriate content via social media, unwelcome sexual or sex-based messaging, distributing or threatening to distribute revenge pornography, breaches of privacy, or otherwise using the ease of transmission and/or anonymity of the Internet or other technology to harm another member of, or group within, the College community.

      • Sex stereotyping - Conduct in which another person's or group's conduct or personality traits are considered inappropriate simply because they may not conform to other people's ideas or perceptions about how individuals of a particular sex should act or look.

      A "hostile environment" is created when the offensive behavior interferes with an individual's ability to participate in the College's programs (i.e., to work and to learn) when judged against a reasonable person standard. However, the College encourages individuals experiencing or witnessing offensive behavior to make a report as early as possible so as to have the situation corrected before it reaches the level of a hostile environment. Individuals with a concern need not worry about whether the behavior is sufficiently serious to constitute a hostile environment. The College reserves the right to remedy sexual harassment pursuant to this policy even if the behavior in question does not rise to the level of legally recognized or actionable harassment.

      The fact that a person was personally offended by a statement or incident does not alone constitute a violation of this policy. The determination as to whether this policy has been violated takes into account the totality of the circumstances as described above. In all instances, a key factor is whether the complained-of behavior occurred because based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression or was sexual in nature. If it did not or was not, the behavior is not regulated by this policy. However, even if the conduct is not sexual in nature or based upon on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression and/or does not otherwise constitute prohibited conduct under this policy, the College may respond by providing individual and community support and resources to those who have been impacted.

      The College also prohibits "quid pro quo" sexual harassment, which means "this for that" harassment. It is a violation of this policy for any person to condition any benefit on submission to sexual activity. No person should believe that any other person -- no matter their position of authority -- has a right to require sexual activity in exchange for any benefit or advantage; they do not.

    2. Sexual Assault. "Sexual assault" includes any sexual act directed against another person, forcibly and/or against that person's will; or not forcibly or against the person's will, without affirmative consent, or where the victim is incapable of giving affirmative consent, but that does not constitute sexual assault as a Title IX Violation as defined above because of the nature of the behavior or the context in which it occurs (for example because the complainant was not in the United States at the time of the alleged conduct, because the complainant was not participating in or seeking to participate in the College's education program or activity at the time of the complaint, or because the conduct did not occur in the context of the College's education program or activity).

      Sexual assault consists of the following specific acts:

      • Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse. Sexual assault of this type includes the 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, forcibly or without affirmative consent or where the victim is incapable of affirmative consent due to mental or physical incapacity. This type of sexual assault also includes non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. In New York, the statutory age of consent is 17 years old.

      • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact. This form of sexual assault includes any intentional touching, however slight, for purposes of sexual gratification or with sexual intent, of the private body parts (including genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks) of another person without affirmative consent. This may include non-penetrative acts, touching directly or with an object, and/or touching the private body parts of another over clothing. This may also include forcing or causing another without affirmative consent to touch one's own private body parts.

    3. Sexual Exploitation. Taking nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one's own benefit or for the benefit of anyone other than the person being exploited, if the conduct does not otherwise constitute another offense under this policy. Examples of sexual exploitation include (a) sexual voyeurism (such as observing or allowing others to observe a person undressing or using the bathroom or engaging in sexual acts, without the consent of the person being observed); (b) taking pictures, video, or audio recording of another in a sexual act, or in any other sexually-related activity when there is a reasonable expectation of privacy during the activity, without the consent of all involved in the activity, or exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as allowing another person to hide in a closet and observe sexual activity, or disseminating sexual pictures without the photographed person's consent or beyond the parameters of consent), including the making or posting of revenge pornography; (c) exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances or nonconsensual disrobing of another person so as to expose the other person's private body parts; (d) prostituting another person; (e) engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) or infection (STI), without informing the other person of the STD or STI; (f) causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person (through alcohol, drugs, or any other means) for the purpose of compromising that person's ability to give consent to sexual activity, or for the purpose of making that person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity; (g) misappropriation of another person's identity on apps, websites, or other venues designed for dating or sexual connections; (h) forcing a person to take an action against that person's will by threatening to show, post, or share information, video, audio, or an image that depicts the person's nudity or sexual activity; or (i) knowingly soliciting a minor for sexual activity.

    4. Dating Violence. Dating violence refers to violence (including but not limited to sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse) committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, but that does not constitute dating violence as a Title IX Violation as defined above because of the nature of the behavior or the context in which it occurs (for example because the complainant was not in the United States at the time of the alleged conduct, because the complainant was not participating in or seeking to participate in the College's education program or activity at the time of the complaint, or because the conduct did not occur in the context of the College's education program or activity). The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the statement or the reporting party with consideration of the following factors: (i) the length of the relationship; (ii) the type of relationship; and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence can include behavior such as coercion, isolation or other forms of emotional, verbal or economic abuse if it reflects a threat of sexual or physical abuse as described above. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
    5. Domestic Violence. Domestic violence refers to violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction where the College is located, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the act of violence occurs, that does not constitute domestic violence as a Title IX Violation as defined above because of the nature of the behavior or the context in which it occurs (for example because the complainant was not in the United States at the time of the alleged conduct, because the complainant was not participating in or seeking to participate in the College's education program or activity at the time of the complaint, or because the conduct did not occur in the context of the College's education program or activity). To categorize an incident as Domestic Violence, the relationship between the responding party 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 as described above.
    6. Stalking. Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others, or to suffer substantial emotional distress, but that does not constitute stalking as a Title IX Violation as defined above because of the nature of the behavior, the basis on which it occurs, or the context in which it occurs (for example because the complainant was not in the United States at the time of the alleged conduct, because the complainant was not participating in or seeking to participate in the College's education program or activity at the time of the complaint, or because the conduct did not occur in the context of the College's education program or activity). For the purposes of this definition, (i) a "course of conduct" means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the individual 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; (ii) "reasonable person" means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the complainant; and (iii) "substantial emotional distress" means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling. Stalking behavior may include but is not limited to repeated, intentional following, observing or lying in wait for another; using "spyware" or other electronic means to gain impermissible access to a person's private information; repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications by phone, mail, email, text, etc.; making direct or indirect threats to harm an individual or the individual's relatives, friends, or pets; or damaging or threatening to damage the property of the targeted individual.

Related Definitions

  1. Affirmative Consent - In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear affirmative consent. Whenever the term consent is used in this policy, it should be understood to mean affirmative consent as defined here. Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of affirmative consent does not vary based on a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Under this policy, “No” always means “No.” At the same time, silence, or the absence of an explicit “no”, cannot be assumed to indicate consent.

    1. Consent to some form of sexual activity between or with any party cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other sexual activity.
    2. Past consent to sexual activity cannot be presumed to be consent to engage in the same sexual activity in the future.
    3. Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
    4. Consent can be withdrawn at any time by expressing in words or actions that the individual no longer wants the sexual activity to continue and, if that happens, the other person must stop immediately.
    5. Affirmative consent cannot be obtained by use of force, compelling threats, intimidating behavior, or coercion. Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, as defined below. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.
  2. Incapacitation- This occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness, mental disability, being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. In order to give affirmative consent, one must be of legal age, which is 17 in the state of New York. Use of alcohol or other drugs does not, in and of itself, negate a person’s ability to give affirmative consent. However, depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent. A person who has been drinking or using drugs is still responsible for ensuring that the other person provides affirmative consent to engage in sexual activity. An individual’s incapacity may also be caused by consuming “date rape” drugs. Possession, use, and/or distribution of any of these substances (including Rohypnol, Ketomine, GHB, Burundanga, and others) is prohibited, and administering any of these drugs to another person for the purpose of inducing one to consent to sexual activity is a violation of this policy.
  3. Coercion - Coercion is a threat, undue pressure, or intimidation to engage in sexual activity. Coercion is more than an effort to persuade, seduce, entice, or attract another person to engage in sexual activity. A person’s words or conduct are sufficient to constitute coercion if they deprive another individual of the ability to freely choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity.
  4. Force - Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent.
  5. Reporting Party or Complainant - The reporting party or complainant is the person who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. A person who files a report on behalf of another person is referred to more specifically as a third-party reporter. The person who is directly affected by the reported behavior, whether reported by them or a third party, will be referred to as the reporting party or complainant.
  6. Responding Party - The responding party is the person who is alleged to have engaged in behavior that violates this policy and, if a process is commenced, is responding to the allegations. The responding party may also be referred to as the respondent.
  7. Supportive Measures - Non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered, as appropriate and as available, and without fee or charge to the reporting party or responding party, before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. These measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access and ensure the safety of all involved parties. Examples of supportive measures include, but are not limited to:

    • counseling services;
    • extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments;
    • modification of work or class schedules;
    • safety escorts;
    • mutual no-contact restrictions and, in certain cases, one-way no contact orders;
    • changes in work or housing locations;
    • leaves of absence;
    • increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus;

    and other similar measures.
  8. Preponderance of Evidence Standard - This is the standard of evidence that is used to determine whether or not a violation of this Utica College policy has occurred. This standard states that based on the collected evidence, it is “more likely than not” that a violation occurred. The burden of proof lies with the institution, and it applies to students, faculty and staff.
  9. Inculpatory Evidence: - This is evidence that tends to reflect a responding party’s responsibility for an alleged violation.
  10. Exculpatory Evidence - This is evidence that tends to reflect that a responding party is not responsible for an alleged violation.

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