Definitions

Access to Higher Education/Athletics:  Ensures educational institutions do not discriminate against students on the basis sex (which includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression) in admission or financial aid programs, educational programs or activities, or athletic programs.

Bullying: Repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate, intentionally hurt, control, or diminish another person physically or mentally.

Campus Security Authorities: Individuals designated by the University with responsibility for supervising or ensuring safety of others (including student employees in the course of their employment duties) and have a duty to report discriminatory behaviors observed or reported to them.

Career Education:  Removes barriers and prohibits educational institutions from discouraging or preventing admission to certain courses or areas of study on the basis of sex.

Consent: Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual agreement among all participants to engage in sexual activity.  Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not constitute consent to any other sexual act. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time. Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated caused by a lack of consciousness or being asleep, intoxication, physically or mentally incapable, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. 

Coercion: The act of using pressure, manipulation, alcohol or drugs, or force to have sexual contact with someone against his or her will, including persistent attempts to have sexual contact with someone who has already refused.  When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive. 

Cyber-bullying: Tormenting, threatening, harassing, humiliating, embarrassing, exploiting, or otherwise targeting an individual using the Internet, interactive and digital technology, or mobile devices.

Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim and includes physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence.

Discrimination:  Any distinction, preference, advantage for or detriment to an individual compared to others that is based upon an individual’s actual or perceived gender, race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion or sexual orientation that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program or activities.

Discriminatory Harassment:  Detrimental action based on an individual’s actual or perceived gender, race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion, sexual orientation or other protected status that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program or activities.

Education for Pregnant/Parenting Students: Ensures pregnant and parenting students have equal access to education and services provided by the educational institution.

Force: The use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent (“Have sex with me or I’ll hit you.”  “Okay, don’t hit me. I’ll do what you want.”).  

Hostile Environment: Any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it alters the conditions of employment or limits, interferes with or denies educational benefits or opportunities, from both a subjective (the alleged victim’s) and an objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint. 

Incapacitation: A state where someone 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).

Intimidation: Implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another.

Learning Environment: Ensures that educational institutions do not perpetuate stereotypes about the interests, abilities or learning styles of either gender, and do not result in unequal educational opportunities.

Mandatory Reporters: Chairs, deans, department heads, administrators, and supervisors, all of whom have a duty to discern and report discriminatory behaviors.

Math and Science:  Requires that students, regardless of gender, are provided equal opportunity to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields in career counseling and guidance, admissions, recruitment, outreach, and retention practices.

Non-consensual sexual contact:  Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, that is without consent and/or by force.

Non-consensual sexual intercourse: Any sexual intercourse however slight, with any object, which is without consent and/or by force.

Preponderance of the Evidence: Means the greater weight of the evidence and that the evidence on one side outweighs, preponderates over, or is more than, the evidence on the other side.  The Preponderance of the Evidence is the applicable standard for demonstrating facts and reaching conclusions in an investigation conducted pursuant to sex/gender discrimination and harassment.

Quid Pro Quo: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to or rejection of such conduct results in adverse educational or employment action.

Rape:  The 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 victim.

Relationship Violence: Abuse in which one person in a relationship uses force, intimidation, or the threat of force against another. It can occur between spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends, parents and children, and other family members. Violence refers to physical assault, sexual, emotional, economic, and verbal abuse.

Responsible Employees: University employees who have the authority to take action to redress the harassment, have the duty to report harassment or other types of misconduct to appropriate officials, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or responsibility.  Notice to a Responsible Employee is official notice to the University.

Retaliatory Harassment:  Intentional action taken by an accused individual or allied third party, absent legitimate non-discriminatory purposes, that harms an individual as reprisal for filing or participating in a civil rights grievance proceeding.

Sex/Gender Discrimination: Behaviors and actions that deny or limit a person’s ability to benefit from, and/or fully participate in, the educational programs or activities or employment opportunities because of a person’s sex/gender. Examples of sex/gender discrimination under Title IX include, but are not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual assault, failure to provide equal opportunity in education programs, activities, and co-curricular programs including athletics, discrimination based on pregnancy, and employment discrimination.

Sexual Assault:  Any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient, including forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.

Sexual Exploitation: When a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses.

Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive to have the effect of unreasonably interfering with, limiting or denying someone the ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program.  The unwelcome behavior may be based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment or retaliation.  Examples include:  an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwanted sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence, stalking; gender-based bullying.

Sexual Misconduct:  A broad term encompassing any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is committed without consent or by force, intimidation, coercion, or manipulation to include sexual assault and sexual violence.

Sexual Violence: Physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs and alcohol.  An individual also may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.  All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment covered under Title IX.

Stalking: A course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated (two or more occasions) visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communication, or verbal, written, or implied threats, or a combination thereof, that would cause a reasonable person fear.

Standardized Testing:  Title IX requires that tests must be valid predictors of success in the areas being tested and that they measure what they say they measure. If a test doesn't meet this standard, and if it results in a lower score for a significant number of members of one sex, it may be unlawful.