Important Definitions

Definitions related to sexual misconduct and Denison’s process.

For full definitions, please see the Policy Prohibiting Sex Discrimination, Including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking and Retaliation.


Consent is defined as a freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity. Both words and actions can express Consent, but they must create mutually understood permission to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or an absence of resistance does not itself indicate Consent. A person cannot infer Consent because of the existence of a past sexual or dating relationship. Consent must exist throughout the sexual encounter and it can be withdrawn at any time. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not automatically imply Consent to other forms of sexual activity. Each participant in a sexual encounter is expected to obtain and give consent to each act of sexual activity in order for the activity to be considered consensual. A person who uses Force as defined below to engage in sexual activity with another person does not have Consent. A person cannot obtain Consent from someone who is incapacitated.


Consent cannot be obtained by Force, and agreement to engage in sexual activity under such circumstances does not constitute Consent. Force is the use of physical violence or physical imposition to engage in sexual activity with another person. Force also includes the use of threat, intimidation, or coercion to overcome a person’s free will or resistance. Threat, intimidation and coercion include (1) actual or implied declarations to inflict physical or psychological harm, to cause damages or to commit other hostile actions to obtain sexual activity from an unwilling participant, and (2) applying unreasonable pressure to obtain sexual activity from an unwilling participant. Unreasonable pressure shall be assessed by factors such as the frequency, intensity, degree of isolation and/or duration of the pressure and must include a real or perceived attack on safety, character, values or morals.


Incapacity occurs when a person is temporarily or permanently impaired by mental and/or physical deficiency, disability, illness, or by the use of drugs or alcohol to the extent the person lacks sufficient understanding or the ability to make or act on considered decisions to engage in sexual activity. States of Incapacity include sleep, unconsciousness, intermittent consciousness, physical helplessness, or any other state in which an individual is not fully aware what is occurring. A person is incapacitated when the person’s perception or judgment is so impaired that the person lacks the cognitive ability to make, understand or act on considered decisions. A person who is incapacitated is unable to give Consent to participate in sexual activity.

Reporting Person

For purposes of Denison’s Policy, the “Reporting Person” is the person alleging Sex Discrimination, including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking and Retaliation, and is the person who experienced the alleged discrimination.

Responding Person

For purposes of Denison’s Policy, the “Responding Person” is the person whose conduct is alleged to constitute Sex Discrimination, including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking and Retaliation.

Responsible Employees

“Responsible Employees” are required to report information shared with them regarding Sex Discrimination, including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking and Retaliation to the Title IX Coordinator and/or Deputy Coordinator(s) so the University can take action to protect the safety of the Reporting Person and the campus community. Most employees of Denison, including but not limited to faculty, administration, staff, resident assistants (RAs), head residents (HRs), and orientation program staff are considered “Responsible Employees.”

Sex Discrimination

The term “Sex Discrimination” means conduct that denies or limits an individual’s ability to benefit from or fully participate in educational programs, activities, co-curricular programs including athletics or employment opportunities because of an individual’s sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation, and discrimination based on an individual’s pregnancy. Sex Discrimination includes Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking and Retaliation.

Sexual Harassment

The term “Sexual Harassment” means unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual Harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature on or off campus, when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment, academic standing, or participation in University programs or activities; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance, education, or participation in University programs or activities, and is sufficiently severe or pervasive as to create an intimidating, hostile, or abusive educational or work environment.

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct is a form of Sexual Harassment, as defined above and includes, without limitation, Sexual Assault, which includes Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse, Non-Consensual Sexual Contact, Sexual Exploitation, and Intimate Partner Violence.

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault is any type of sexual contact that occurs without the Consent of the recipient or by Force. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse and Non-Consensual Sexual Contact are forms of Sexual Assault. Sexual assault includes attempted acts even if not completed.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is defined as any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any body part or object by a person upon a person without Consent or by Force. Intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, finger, tongue or object, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact), no matter how slight.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with a body part or an object, by a person upon a person without Consent or by Force. Sexual contact includes contact, directly or over clothing, with genitals, groin, breast, or buttocks; or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; or any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for the exploiting individual’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the individual being exploited. Examples include, but are not limited to, invasion of sexual privacy, administering “date rape” drugs (such as Rohypnol, Ketamine, GHB, etc.) without a person’s knowledge and permission, inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity, non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity, going beyond the boundaries of Consent (such as knowingly allowing another to surreptitiously watch otherwise consensual sexual activity), engaging in non-consensual voyeurism, exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances, inducing another to expose her or his genitals, prostituting another student, and knowingly transmitting or exposing another person to a sexually transmitted infection (STI) without the knowledge of the person.

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner Violence is intentional physical, sexual, or psychological harm, including acts of intimidation and coercion, by a current or former partner upon the other partner. Intimate Partner Violence may include a pattern of abusive behavior by one partner to consistently maintain power and control over the other partner. This type of violence can occur regardless of the sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation of either person and does not require sexual intimacy. Domestic violence and dating violence are forms of Intimate Partner Violence and all are prohibited by Denison’s Policy.


Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking may include repeatedly following, harassing, threatening, or intimidating another by telephone, mail, electronic communication, social media, or by any other action, device or method.


Intimidating, threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating against an individual because of the individual’s informal or formal report or participation in a University or Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) investigation or proceedings related to practices prohibited by the Policy constitutes Retaliation. This includes action taken against a bystander who intervened to stop or attempt to stop Sex Discrimination.

Policy Prohibiting Sex Discrimination, Including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking and Retaliation

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