Glossary of Terms

Recognizing Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct is a broad term used to encompass unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is prohibited by the University.

The term Sexual Misconduct includes (but is not limited to) behaviors often described as sexual harassment, sex/gender discrimination, sexual assault, sexual violence, rape, stalking, and relationship violence (including domestic and dating violence). This also includes harassment that targets a person based on gender identity, transgender identity, or gender transition. It is a violation of this Sexual Misconduct Policy to commit these acts or to attempt to commit them, as well as a violation of applicable law (including Title IX or Oregon law). Sexual Misconduct can occur between any persons regardless of sex and gender identity. Influence by other factors, such as alcohol or other drugs, before or during an act of sexual misconduct does not serve as a defense or excuse for the offending individual’s misconduct. Sexual Misconduct may vary in its severity and consists of a range of behaviors including, but not limited to, the following categories:

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Assault

Relationship Violence (including domestic, dating, and intimate partner violence)

Stalking

Sexual Exploitation

Discrimination or Harassment Based on Sex

See the Sexual Misconduct Policy for further details and examples of sexual misconduct.

 

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined differently under Title IX and Oregon law. This section sets forth each definition, followed by examples.

Title IX Definition

For purposes of Title IX, sexual harassment is defined as conduct on the basis of sex that meets one or more of the following:

(1) A University employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;

(2) Unwelcome conduct by any student, employee, or individual third party that is determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University's education program or activity; or

(3) "Sexual assault," "dating violence," "domestic violence" and "stalking" as those terms are defined in the Title IX Sexual Misconduct Process.

Oregon Law Definition

For purposes of sexual misconduct that does not fall under Title IX for jurisdictional reasons, sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it has the effect, intended or unintended, of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or it has created an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment and would have such an effect on a reasonable person.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is the act of committing unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature, whether by an acquaintance or stranger. Such contact is unwanted when it occurs without the consent (as defined below) of one or all individuals, when any of the individuals are incapacitated or incapable of giving consent (as defined below), or occurs with the use of force (as defined below). An “acquaintance” can include a close friend, intimate partner, family member, classmate, or can be anyone you just met. A survivor and the accused can be of any sex/gender, sexual orientation and/or sexual identity. There are many degrees and forms of sexual assault including, but not limited to, the following:

a. Nonconsensual sexual contact (or attempts to commit the same):

  • Any intentional sexual touching,
  • however slight,
  • with any body part(s) or inanimate object(s),
  • by person(s) upon another person(s),
  • without consent and/or by physical force, coercion, or threat.

Sexual contact/activity with a person who is incapacitated (by use of drugs, alcohol, or any other means) or otherwise unable to consent (i.e. asleep, intellectually impaired, etc.) is considered non-consensual.

b. Nonconsensual sexual intercourse (or attempts to commit the same):

  • Any sexual intercourse (anal, oral or vaginal penetration),
  • however slight,
  • with any body part(s) or inanimate object(s),
  • by person(s) upon another person(s),
  • without consent and/or by physical force, coercion, or threat.

Sexual contact/activity with a person who is incapacitated (by use of drugs, alcohol, or any other means) or otherwise unable to consent (i.e. asleep, intellectually impaired, etc.) is considered non-consensual.

Relationship Violence (including domestic, dating, and intimate partner violence)

Relationship violence (including domestic, dating, and intimate partner violence) is intentionally violent or controlling behavior by a person who is currently or was previously in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the survivor. Relationship violence includes actual or threatened physical injury, sexual assault, psychological abuse, economic control, and/or progressive social isolation.

Relationship violence occurs in all types of relationships. Relationship violence can include (but is not limited to): physical or emotional abuse; controlling/possessive behavior; making the survivor feel like they must walk on eggshells, call friends in secret, or dress a certain way.

Stalking

Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (b) 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 stalker 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.;

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

  • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances and with the same or similar identities to the survivor.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation is taking nonconsensual, unjust, or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit a person other than the one being exploited that does not otherwise constitute nonconsensual sexual contact or intercourse.

Consent

Consent is an informed, knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision and can be withdrawn at any time. Consent is active, not passive. Consent can be given by words or actions as long as those words or actions create mutually unmistakable permission regarding the conditions of sexual activity. Consent must be obtained by the person initiating the behavior at every stage of sexual interaction.

a. It is important to remember:

  • Silence, by itself, cannot constitute consent
  • The absence of resistance does not imply consent.
  • Consent to one sexual act does not constitute or imply consent to a different sexual act. Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
  • Past consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts. Consent is required regardless of the parties' relationship status or sexual history together.
  • A verbal “no” or its equivalent meaning, even if it may sound tentative, indecisive, or insincere, indicates a lack of consent.

b. Consent can never be given by:

  • Someone who is incapacitated. A person can be incapacitated through the use of drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicating substance, or when they are unconscious or asleep. It is a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy to engage in sexual activity with someone you know or should know is incapacitated. See the definition of incapacity below for more information.
  • Someone who is intellectually disabled. Certain intellectual disabilities can cause a person to be unable to knowingly consent to sexual activity. It is a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy to engage in sexual activity with a person whose intellectual disability renders them incapable of giving consent and the disability is known or should have been known to the non- disabled sexual partner. Under these circumstances, the conduct is non-consensual regardless of whether the person appeared to be a willing participant.
  • Someone who is under the legal age of consent. In Oregon, the legal age of consent is eighteen (18). It is a violation of this policy to engage in sexual activity with a person who is under the age of consent, regardless of whether the person willingly participated in the conduct, unless otherwise provided by law. The University will take into consideration Oregon laws, including the close-in-age exemption (ORS 163.345). Note: Employees of Oregon public and private higher education institutions are considered by law to be mandatory reporters of child abuse for minors.

The use of alcohol, drugs, or any other intoxicating substance: A person who has consumed alcohol and/or drugs still has a responsibility to obtain ongoing consent for any sexual activity with another person. The use of alcohol or other drugs by the person initiating sexual activity will never be accepted as an excuse for failing to obtain consent.

Discrimination or Harassment Based on Sex

Discrimination or harassment based on sex includes a person's assigned sex at birth, biological sex and genetic makeup, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and gender expression.