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What is Consent?

What is Consent?

Consent is a clear and voluntary agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity. A person who was asleep or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effect of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason, or whose agreement was made under duress or by threat, coercion, or force, cannot give consent. 

In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear, knowing and voluntary consent prior to and during sexual activity. Consent is sexual permission.  Consent can be given by word or action, but non--verbal consent is not as clear as talking about what you want sexually and what you don’t.  Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity. Silence-without actions demonstrating permission-cannot be assumed to show consent.   

Because alcohol or other drug use affect capacity to consent, sober sex may be less likely to raise questions about valid consent.  When alcohol or other drugs are used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing.  Under this policy, “No” always means “No,” and “Yes” may not always mean “Yes.”  Anything but a clear, knowing and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a “no.”

Consent is not given if it results from the use of force, threats, intimidation or coercion.

Coercion

There is a difference between seduction and coercion. Coercing someone into sexual activity violates this policy in the same way as physically forcing someone into sex.  Coercion happens when someone is pressured for sex.

Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercion differs from seduction by the repetition of the coercive activity beyond what is reasonable, the degree of pressure applied, and other factors such as isolation. When someone makes it clear that they do not want sex, do not want to go past a certain point, or want it to stop, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.

Incapacitation

Because alcohol or other drug use affect capacity to consent, sober sex may be less likely to raise questions about valid consent.  When alcohol or other drugs are used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. 

Additional information regarding consent:

A person who does not want to consent to sex is not required to resist.

Consent to some forms of sexual activity does not automatically imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.

Silence, previous sexual relationships, or the existence of a current relationship do not imply consent.

Consent cannot be implied by attire or inferred from the giving or acceptance of gifts, money or other items.

Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time, as long as the withdrawal is communicated clearly. Withdrawal of consent can be done in numerous ways and need not be a verbal withdrawal of consent.

A student's intentional use of alcohol/drugs will not function as a defense to a possible violation of this rule.

 

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