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Definitions

Sexual misconduct is a broad range of behavior that includes, but is not limited to, non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, dating/relationship violence, domestic violence, and stalking. 

Consent

Consent means clear and unambiguous agreement to engage in sexual activity as evidenced by words or actions that demonstrate a knowing and voluntary willingness to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent cannot be gained by force, duress, intimidation, coercion, ignoring objections, or taking advantage of another's incapacitation. Consent may not be inferred from silence or any other lack of active resistance. Consent may not be inferred from the way a person is dressed. Consent may not be assumed from the fact of spending money on another person (e.g., buying a meal on a date).

Prior consent does not imply consent to future sexual acts. A current or prior consensual dating or sexual relationship, alone, does not imply consent to sexual activity or preclude a finding of sexual misconduct. In addition, consent to one type of sexual act does not automatically imply consent to any other type of sexual act. Consent may be withdrawn at any time through clear words ‘or actions such as walking or running away, pushing the other party away, or attempting to physically stop the other party. Once a person withdraws consent, sexual activity must stop, regardless of the extent or nature of the sexual behavior that has occurred up to the moment that consent is withdrawn. For example, if one individual clearly says "no" and the other continues penetration or another form of sexual contact, it is sexual misconduct.

Consent may not be given by the following persons:

  • Individuals who are mentally incapacitated at the time of the sexual contact in a manner that prevents them from understanding the nature or consequences of the sexual act involved, including incapacitation as a result of alcohol or drug use;
  • Individuals who are asleep, unconscious or otherwise physically helpless; and
  • Minors.
Incapacitation

Incapacitation is defined as the physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments that prevents an individual from giving valid consent. Incapacitation may be caused by a permanent or temporary physical or mental impairment. Incapacitation may also result from the consumption of alcohol or the use of drugs.

The use of alcohol or drugs may, but does not automatically, affect a person's ability to consent to sexual contact. The consumption of alcohol or drugs may result in incapacitation if the nature and degree of the intoxication go beyond the stage of drunkenness, intoxication, or reduced inhibition to the point where the individual is unable to make knowing, informed decisions or to understand the nature and consequences of the sexual act. In such case, the person cannot consent to sexual activity, regardless of their words or actions.

A person violates the sexual misconduct policy if they have sexual contact with someone they know or should know is incapacitated or has reached the degree of intoxication that results in incapacitation. The test of whether an individual should know about another's incapacitation is whether a reasonable, sober person would know about the incapacitation. A Respondent cannot rebut a sexual misconduct charge merely by arguing that they were drunk or otherwise impaired and, as a result did not know that the other person was incapacitated.

A person who is passed out or unconscious is incapacitated and, therefore, is not able to consent.

Coercion

Coercion is unreasonable, inappropriate pressure to engage in sexual activity. Coercive behavior is different than romantic or seductive behavior because coercive behavior involves inappropriate or unreasonable pressure to obtain consent from another person for sexual activity. Continued  pressure to engage in sexual activity after the other person makes it clear that they do not want to engage in, want to stop, or do not want to go further with sexual activity can be coercion.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Any sexual contact that occurs without consent constitutes non-consensual sexual contact.  Sexual contact means physical contact committed with the intent to sexually molest, arouse, or gratify any person, where one person intentionally touches another's intimate parts or clothing directly covering such intimate parts.  Examples of sexual contact include the intentional touching of a person's genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks or the clothing covering any of those areas, or using force to cause the person to touch their own genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks.  Non-consensual sexual contact is sexual misconduct prohibited by the University.

Physical Force

Physically restraining a person against their will, using violence or the threat of violence, or using a weapon or threatening to use a weapon constitutes physical force. An example of physical force includes using bodyweight to hold someone in place.

Threats

Threats cause a person to do something that they would not have done without the threat. Examples of threats include, but are not limited to:

  • If you do not have sex with me, I will harm someone close to you.
  • If you do not do what I want, I will tell people that you are gay.
  • If you do not hook up with me, I will tell people you are a whore.
  • If you stop hooking up with me, I will kill myself.
Intimidation

Intimidation is defined as an implied threat. Examples of intimidation include use of body size to block an exit, breaking or smashing items, or using looks or gestures to create fear.

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct is a broad range of behavior that includes, but is not limited to, non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, dating/relationship violence, domestic violence, and stalking.

Conduct prohibited as sexual misconduct under this policy may also violate criminal law. As a result, in addition to any investigation and conduct proceeding by the University, such conduct may be investigated by the police and prosecuted in a court of law.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Any sexual contact that occurs without consent constitutes non-consensual sexual contact. Sexual contact means physical contact committed with the intent to sexually molest, arouse or gratify any person, where one person intentionally touches another’s intimate parts or clothing directly covering such intimate parts or causes a person to touch their own intimate parts or clothing directly covering such intimate parts. Examples of sexual contact include, but are not limited to, the intentional touching of a person's genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks or the clothing covering any of those areas, or using force to cause the person to touch their own genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks. Non-consensual sexual contact is sexual misconduct prohibited by the University.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

The act of sexual intercourse that occurs without consent constitutes non-consensual sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is defined by penetration (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, by a penis, tongue, finger, or inanimate object. Non-consensual sexual intercourse is sexual misconduct prohibited by the University.

Sexual Exploitation

Taking sexual advantage of another person without effective consent constitutes sexual exploitation.  Sexual exploitation is distinct from non-consensual sexual contact or intercourse, which constitute separate violations of this Policy. Examples of sexual exploitation include but are not limited to causing the incapacitation of another person for a sexual purpose; causing the prostitution of another person; electronically recording, photographing, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds, or images of another person, including images of someone undressed or partially undressed; allowing third parties to observe sexual acts; engaging in voyeurism; distributing intimate or sexual information about another person; and knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection to another person. Sexual exploitation is sexual misconduct prohibited by the University.

Stalking

Stalking is engaging in a course of unwanted conduct toward a specific person (including  surveillance, repeated phone calls, emails, text messages, social media messages or in-person contact) that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their own safety or the safety of others or to suffer substantial emotional distress.

A course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the person directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about, another person, or interferes with another person’s property.

Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Any act that constitutes stalking under Virginia law is also prohibited under this policy. Stalking is sexual misconduct prohibited by the University.

Dating/Relationship Violence

Dating or relationship violence is any type of violence, including sexual or physical assault or abuse, or the threat of such assault or abuse, between adults who are in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on the reporting party’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.

Dating/relationship violence is sexual misconduct prohibited by the University.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is an act of violence committed: (a) by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; (b) by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; (c) by a person who is cohabitating  or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; (d) by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under Virginia law; or (e) by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under Virginia law. Domestic violence is sexual misconduct prohibited by the University.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is any physical sexual act or acts perpetrated against a person’s will or against a person incapable of giving consent. Examples of sexual violence include non-consensual sexual contact and non-consensual sexual intercourse. Depending upon the circumstances, sexual violence may also include dating/relationship violence or domestic violence. Sexual violence is sexual misconduct prohibited by the University. 

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that: (a) creates Hostile Environment, as defined in this policy; or (b) constitutes Quid Pro Quo Harassment, as defined in this policy.

Hostile Environment: A hostile environment exists, for purposes of this policy, when unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is sufficiently serious, persistent, or pervasive such that it limits or denies an individual’s employment, academic performance, or ability to participate in or benefit from University programs or activities. Conduct must be deemed serious, persistent, or pervasive from both a subjective and an objective perspective. In evaluating whether a hostile environment exists, the University will consider the totality of the relevant circumstances, including, but not limited to:

·         The type, frequency, duration, and seriousness of the conduct;

·         Whether the conduct was physically threatening;

·         The extent to which the conduct was engaged in, by, or affected one or more individuals;

·         The identity of and relationship between the Respondent(s) and Complainant(s)

·         The effect of the conduct on the Complainant;

·         Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;

·         Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the Complainant’s educational or work performance and/or ability to participate in or benefit from University programs or activities; and

·         Whether the conduct implicates concerns related to academic freedom or protected speech.

A hostile environment can be created by persistent or pervasive conduct or by a single or isolated incident, if sufficiently serious. The more serious the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the conduct is physical.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment: Quid Pro Quo Harassment occurs if submission to unwanted sexual conduct is an implicit or explicit term or condition of an individual's employment, academic standing, or participation in any University programs and/ or activities, or is used as the basis for University decisions regarding the individual who is the subject of the unwanted sexual conduct.

Hazing

The University's policy against hazing is separate from this Policy. In some cases conduct may violate both policies. Hazing is an act that, as an explicit or implicit condition for initiation to, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership in a group organization, could be seen by a reasonable person as conduct that: endangers the physical health of an individual or causes mental distress to an individual through, for example, humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning treatment; destroys or removes public or private property; involves the consumption of alcohol, other drugs, or other substances; or violates any of the policies of the University of Richmond. Hazing that involves sexual misconduct will be investigated by the Title IX Coordinators in addition to other campus officials. Hazing is prohibited by the University.

Retaliation

Retaliation is retribution in any form against: (a) an individual who reports, in good faith, an actual, potential, or suspected violation of applicable laws, regulations, or University policies, including this Policy; or (b) an individual participating in the investigation of a sexual misconduct report. Retaliation is misconduct prohibited by the University.  Retaliation includes both direct conduct and indirection conduct by a third party on behalf of the individual charged with retaliation.

The Complainant

The term “Complainant” as used in this policy and in the University’s Standards of Student Conduct refers to the individual who is the subject of an act or incident of alleged sexual misconduct. The Complainant may or may not be the individual who makes the report of sexual misconduct. The Complainant may also be referred to as the accusing student, the victim, or the survivor of an act of sexual misconduct. 

A Complainant can be a person of any gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.  A Complainant need not be a University student, faculty, or staff member, but, in such case, the administrative response and investigation described in this policy will apply only if the Respondent is a University student, staff, or faculty member.  The University Police Department will respond to reports of crimes within the Department’s jurisdiction regardless of the status of the Complainant and Respondent.

The Respondent

The term “Respondent” as used in this policy and in the University’s Standards of Student Conduct refers to the person who is alleged to have violated the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. The Respondent may also be referred to as the accused student or the alleged perpetrator.

A Respondent can be a person of any gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.  A Respondent need not be a University student, faculty, or staff member.  If the Complainant is a member of the University community, the University’s Title IX Coordinator will respond and, to the extent possible, investigate a report of sexual misconduct involving a Respondent who is not a University student, faculty, or staff member.  The University Police Department will respond to reports of crimes within the Department’s jurisdiction regardless of the status of the Complainant and Respondent.

Responsible Employee

The term “Responsible Employee” as used in this policy and as defined by Virginia law refers to an employee of the University who has the authority to take action to redress alleged sexual misconduct, including sexual violence, who has been given the duty of reporting acts of sexual misconduct, including sexual violence, to the Title IX Coordinators, or is a person whom a student could reasonably believe has this authority or responsibility.

The following University employees are Responsible Employees because they have the authority to take action to redress alleged sexual misconduct, including sexual violence:

  • The Title IX Coordinators;
  • The Vice President for Student Development;
  • The Deans, Associate Deans, and Assistant Deans of Westhampton College and Richmond College, the Law School’s Associate Dean for Student Services & Administration, the Law School Dean's Office, the Program Coordinator for Graduate Studies in Business, and  the Associate Dean, School of Professional and Continuing Studies;
  • The University’s conduct officers;
  • The Associate Vice President for Human Resources; and
  • The sworn officers of the University of Richmond Police Department.

Other than individuals designated as confidential resources, the following University employees are Responsible Employees because they have a duty to report acts of sexual misconduct, including sexual violence, to the appropriate Title IX Coordinator:

  • All faculty members;
  • All University employees with the title of assistant director, associate dean or above;
  • Residence Life staff including Resident  Assistants and Area Coordinators;
  • All employees engaged in academic advising;
  • University staff accompanying students on off-campus programs or other University-related trips, within and outside the United States;
  • All employees identified as Campus Security Authorities;
  • All employees in the following divisions, departments, or offices:
    • Academic Deans;
    • Academic Skills Center;
    • Admissions;
    • Athletics;
    • Bursar;
    • Camps and Conferences;
    • Career Services;
    • Chaplaincy;
    • Financial Aid;
    • Human Resources;
    • International Education;
    • President’s Office;
    • Provost’s Office;
    • Registrar;
    • Student Development; and
    • University of Richmond Public Safety Department.