Definitions

These terms appear as they are defined in The Ohio State University's Sexual Misconduct Policy 1.15

Term

Definition

Consent

Permission that is clear, knowing, voluntary, and expressed prior to engaging in and during an act. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.

  1. Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
  2. Consent may be withdrawn at any time.
  3. Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts; this includes “blanket” consent (i.e., permission in advance for any/all actions at a later time/place).
  4. Consent cannot be given by an individual who one knows to be – or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be – substantially impaired (e.g., by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness, etc.).
    1. Substantial impairment is a state when an individual cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction).
    2. This also covers individuals whose substantial impairment results from other physical or mental conditions including mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the consumption of alcohol or other drugs.
    3. Being impaired by alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this policy.
  5. It is the obligation of the person initiating the sexual activity to obtain consent.
  6. An individual cannot consent who has been coerced, including being compelled by force, threat of force, or deception; who is unaware that the act is being committed; or who is coerced by a supervisory or disciplinary authority.
    1. Force: violence, compulsion, or constraint; physically exerted by any means upon or against a person.
    2. Coercion: the application of pressure by the respondent that unreasonably interferes with the complainant's ability to exercise free will. Factors to be considered include, but are not limited to, the intensity and duration of the conduct.
  7. A person who does not want to consent to sex is not required to resist or verbally object.
  8. Withdrawal of consent can be manifested through conduct and need not be a verbal withdrawal of consent (i.e. crying, pulling away, pushing away, not actively participating, lying there, uncomfortable or upset facial expression).
  9. Consent may not be given by an individual who has not reached the legal age of consent under applicable law.

Education program or activity

Locations, events, or circumstances over which the university exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs, including employment, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the university.

Formal complaint

A broad term than encompasses two types of complaints: an Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) formal complaint and a Title IX formal complaint.

OIE formal complaint

Under this policy, a document filed by a complainant or signed by an Office of Institutional Equity director or designee alleging sexual misconduct against a respondent and requesting that the university investigate the allegation that does not fall under Title IX. For the purpose of filing an OIE formal complaint, OIE directors include: Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator, director of Affirmative Action/EEO, Title IX coordinator, and director of youth protection.

Title IX formal complaint

A document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX coordinator alleging sexual harassment (Title IX) against a respondent and requesting that the university investigate the allegation of sexual harassment.

Party

A broad term that encompasses complainant(s) and respondent(s) in a matter.

Complainant

An individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct prohibited by this policy. An individual may be a complainant regardless of whether that individual makes a report or participates in the review of that report by the university.

Respondent

An individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct prohibited by this policy.

Relationship violence

A broad term that encompasses dating violence and domestic violence.

Domestic violence

Conduct that would meet the definition of a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the complainant, by a person with whom the complainant shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth complainant who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Dating violence

Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant.

  1. 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.
  2. For the purposes of this definition—
    1. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
    2. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

Retaliation

Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by this policy, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this policy.

Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for policy violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by this policy, constitutes retaliation.

Examples of retaliation include: discrimination or harassment as defined by this policy, job termination, adjustment in pay or responsibilities, or any other action that has a materially adverse effect on the working environment of an employee, that hinders or prevents an employee from effectively carrying out their university duties, or that has a materially adverse impact on the academic or living environment of a student. Any person or group within the scope of this policy who engages in retaliation is subject to a separate complaint of retaliation under this policy. A good faith pursuit by a party of civil, criminal or other legal action, internal or external to the university, does not constitute retaliation.

Sexual misconduct

A broad term that encompasses sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation.

Sexual harassment (non-Title IX)

In the employment context, sexual harassment is unwelcome verbal or physical conduct based on sex (including gender and sexual orientation) that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. In the education context, sexual harassment is unwelcome, sex- or gender-based verbal or physical conduct that interferes with, denies, or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational programs and activities.

Sexual harassment can take two forms: power differentials (quid pro quo) or hostile environment:

  1. Quid pro quosexual harassment exists when:
    1. There are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature; and
    2. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic status; or
    3. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions adversely affecting such individual.
  2. Hostile environment in the employment context includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive work environment. Hostile environment in the education contextincludes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it interferes with, or denies educational benefits or opportunities, from both a subjective (the complainant’s) and an objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint.
    1. The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” is based on a totality of circumstances. These circumstances may include:
      1. The degree to which the conduct interfered with the complainant’s educational or work performance;
      2. The type, frequency, and duration of the conduct;
      3. The identity of and relationship between the respondent and the complainant(s);
      4. The number of individuals involved;
      5. The age and sex of the respondent and the complainant(s);
      6. The location of the incident(s) and the context in which it occurred;
      7. The nature and severity of the conduct;
      8. Whether the conduct was physically threatening;
      9. Whether the conduct was humiliating;
      10. The effect of the conduct on the complainant’s mental or emotional state;
      11. Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
      12. Whether the speech or conduct deserves the protections of academic freedom or the first amendment.
    2. A single or isolated incident of sexual harassment may be severe enough to create a hostile environment. Minor slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of sexual harassment. In order to violate this policy, the conduct must create an environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to a reasonable person.

All such acts of sexual harassment are forms of sexual misconduct under this policy.

Sexual harassment (Title IX)

Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  1. An employee of the university conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the university on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (i.e. quid pro quo);
  2. 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 education program or activity; or
  3. Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as defined in this policy.

Sexual assault

Any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the complainant including instances where the complainant is incapable of giving consent. Sexual assault is an umbrella term that includes: non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual penetration, incest, and statutory rape.

Non-consensual sexual contact

The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the complainant, including instances where the complainant is incapable of giving consent. Sexual contact includes: intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals; or touching another with any of these body parts or an object; or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts. Non-consensual sexual contact includes forcible fondling.

Non-consensual sexual penetration

Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus (including genital or anal opening) with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the complainant.

Sexual penetration includes: vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact); no matter how slight the penetration or contact.
Non-consensual sexual penetration includes forcible rape, forcible sodomy, and sexual assault with an object.

Forcible Rape: 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 complainant.

Forcible Sodomy: Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, forcibly, and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually), or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age of consent in the applicable jurisdiction or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. 

Sexual Assault with an Object: The use of an object or instrument to penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly, and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually), or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. 

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 in the applicable jurisdiction.

Sexual exploitation

Occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for that individual’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the individual being exploited. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  1. Engaging in voyeurism;
  2. Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals;
  3. Going beyond the boundaries of consent (e.g., letting others hide in a closet to watch you having consensual sex);
  4. Invasion of sexual privacy;
  5. Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) to another;
  6. Non-consensual pictures, video-, or audio-recording of sexual activity, or the nonconsensual distribution of;
  7. Possession, use, and/or distribution of alcohol or other drug (e.g., Xanax, Ambien, Benadryl, Rohypnol (“Roofies”), Ketamine, GHB, etc.) for the purpose of engaging in or facilitating any activity prohibited under this policy; and
  8. Prostituting another.

Sexual exploitation that meets the definition of sexual harassment (Title IX) will be addressed pursuant to that definition and associated procedures.

Stalking

A course of conduct directed at a specific individual that would cause a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the complainant to fear for their own or others’ safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress. A course of conduct includes two or more acts, including but not limited to, those in which the alleged directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about the complainant, or interferes with the complainant’s property.

When stalking is not based on sex or gender, it may violate other university policies including but not limited to the Code of Student Conduct or the Workplace Violence 7.05 policy.

Student

An individual to whom an offer of admission has been extended, paid an acceptance fee, registered for classes, or otherwise entered into another agreement with the university to take instruction. Student status lasts until an individual graduates, is permanently dismissed, or is not in attendance for two complete, consecutive terms, and includes those with a continuing educational relationship with the university. “Student” also includes registered student organizations. A student organization remains a “student” for purposes of this policy for one calendar year following the expiration of the organization’s most recent registration. A student organization is not a “student” for the purposes of Title IX formal complaints under this policy.

The university reserves the right to administer this policy and proceed with any process provided by this policy even if the student withdraws from the university, is no longer enrolled in classes, or subsequently fails to meet the definition of a student while a disciplinary matter is pending.

Supportive measures

Non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the educational environment, or deter sexual harassment.

Title IX coordinator

The designated and authorized university official with primary responsibility for coordinating the university’s compliance with Title IX. This individual provides leadership for Title IX activities; offers consultation, education, and training; and helps to ensure that the university responds appropriately, effectively, and equitably to all Title IX issues. The Title IX coordinator oversees the delegation of tasks as necessary to effectuate all regulatory responsibilities.

University community

Faculty, staff, students, student employees, graduate associates, suppliers/contractors, program participants, volunteers, and visitors.