In reviewing possible violations of sexual misconduct, the University considers consent as the voluntary, informed, uncoerced agreement through words and actions freely given, which a reasonable person would interpret as a willingness to participate in mutually agreed-upon sexual acts. Consensual sexual activity happens when each partner willingly and affirmatively chooses to participate.
Indications that consent is not present include: when physical force is used or there is a reasonable belief of the threat of physical force; when duress is present; and when a person is incapable of making an intentional decision to participate in a sexual act, which could include instances in which the person is in a state of incapacitation.
Important points regarding consent include:
- Consent to one act does not constitute consent to another act.
- Consent on a prior occasion does not constitute consent on a subsequent occasion.
- The existence of a prior or current relationship does not, in itself, constitute consent.
- Consent can be withdrawn or modified at any time.
- Consent is not implicit in a person’s manner of dress.
- Accepting a meal, a gift, or an invitation for a date does not imply or constitute consent.
- Silence, passivity, or lack of resistance does not necessarily constitute consent.
- Initiation by someone who a reasonable person knows or should have known to be deemed incapacitated is not consent.
In the context of this policy, incapacitation is the state in which a person’s physical ability is so limited, or perception or judgment is so impaired, that he or she lacks the capacity to make or act on conscious decisions. The use of drugs or alcohol can cause incapacitation. An individual who is incapacitated is unable to consent to a sexual activity. Engaging in sexual activity with an individual who is incapacitated (and therefore unable to consent), where a person knows or ought reasonably to have understood that the individual is incapacitated, constitutes sexual misconduct.