Faculty & Staff  |  Current Students

Online | News | Calendar | Directory | Library | Give

Definitions

Note: This language is part of Point Park University's Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence and Stalking.

This is a graphic showing the words

Complainant—the person(s) alleged to have been subjected to conduct in violation of this policy. The University reserves the right to act as the Complainant in a case where an individual is unwilling or unable to pursue a report of misconduct.

Respondent—the person(s) accused of conduct that might be in violation of this policy.

Reporter— the person(s) reporting alleged conduct prohibited by this policy.  The Reporter may be the Complainant or any other person (but not a responsible employee).

Sexual Misconduct is a broad term encompassing sexual harassment, sexual assault, and any other non-consensual behavior of a sexual nature that is committed by force or intimidation, or that is otherwise unwelcome. Sexual misconduct may vary in its severity and consists of a range of behavior or attempted behavior.

Sexual misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. It can also occur between members of the same or different sex and can occur while individuals are fully clothed.

Sexual Assault is non-consensual sexual contact or non-consensual sexual intercourse (as defined below).  Sexual assault includes sexual contact or sexual intercourse achieved by the use or threat of force or violence, coercion or intimidation, without consent, or where an individual is incapacitated.

  1. Non-consensual sexual contact is any sexual touching, however slight, with any part of a person or an object, by any person upon another without consent (as defined below), or by forcing any person to touch you or his/herself in a sexual manner.  Non-consensual contact includes improper touching of intimate body parts, non-consensual removal of another’s clothing, indecent contact (i.e. the unwanted touching of intimate body parts including, but not limited to, genitals, buttocks, groin, or breasts), or causing another to have indecent contact with those intimate body parts.  
  2. Non-consensual sexual intercourse is any sexual intercourse by any person upon another without consent (as defined below).  It includes oral, anal and vaginal penetration, to any degree, with any part of the body or any object.  Non-consensual intercourse may be accomplished by expressly or implicitly forcing or coercing another person to have intercourse against that person’s will, including the use or threat of physical force, or any behavior that is designed to intimidate and induce fear in another person.  Non-consensual sexual intercourse can also occur when another person is incapable of denying or giving consent.

Sexual Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic or physical conduct of a sexual or gender-based nature, when: (1) submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing or is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement (i.e. quid pro quo); or (2) such conduct creates a hostile environment (defined below). Sexual harassment may be found in a single episode, as well as in persistent behavior.

Sexual harassment is a matter of particular concern to an academic community in which students, faculty and staff are related by strong bonds of intellectual dependence and trust.

Hostile Environment Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature creates a hostile environment when it (1) is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an education program or creates a hostile or abusive educational environment; or (2) explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. 

In determining whether harassment has created a hostile environment, consideration will be given not only to whether the conduct was unwelcome to the person who feels harassed, but also to whether a reasonable person in a similar situation would have perceived the conduct as objectively offensive.

Domestic Violence is a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Dating violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.  The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement, taking into consideration of the following factors:

(i) The length of the relationship;

(ii) The type of relationship; and

(iii) The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.  Dating violence, for purposes of this policy, does not include emotional abuse.

Relationship Violence includes domestic violence and dating violence (as those terms are defined above).

Sexual Exploitation involves:

  1. electronically recording, photographing, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds, or images without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
  2. voyeurism (spying on others who are in intimate or sexual situations); or
  3. distributing intimate or sexual information about another person without that person’s consent.

Stalking means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—

(A) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or

(B) suffer substantial emotional distress.

One engages in an impermissible course of conduct if one engages in two or more acts that include, but are 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 in a way prohibited as described above or interferes with a person’s property.

Retaliation is action taken by an accused individual or an action taken by a third party against any person because that person has opposed any practices forbidden under this policy or because that person has filed a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation or proceeding under this policy.  This includes action taken against a bystander who intervened to stop or attempted to stop sexual misconduct.  Retaliation includes intimidating, threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating against an individual because of the individual’s complaint or participation.  Action is generally deemed retaliatory if it would deter a reasonable person in the same circumstances from opposing practices prohibited by this policy.

Sexual Intimidation is sexual misconduct that occurs when a person takes unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another for his or her own advantage or benefit or for the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the exploited party; and that behavior does not otherwise constitute sexual assault. 

Consent is knowing, voluntary and clear permission by word or action, to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct.

A person cannot consent if he or she is unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or other drugs. An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has violated this policy. 

It is not an excuse that the individual accused of sexual misconduct was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the incapacity of the other. 

Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous dating relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar previous patterns that may be evidenced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. A person can withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity by expressing in words or actions that he or she no longer wants the act to continue, and, if that happens, the other person must stop immediately.

In Pennsylvania, a minor (meaning a person under the age of 16 years) cannot consent to sexual activity. This means that sexual contact by an adult with a person younger than 16 years old is a crime, as well as a violation of this policy, even if the minor wanted to engage in the act.

Incapacitation is the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent because the individual is mentally and/or physically helpless, asleep, unconscious, or unaware that sexual activity is occurring. Incapacity may result from mental disability, involuntary physical restraint and/or from the use of alcohol or drugs.  Intoxication is not necessarily the same thing as incapacitation, unless one is so intoxicated as to be incapacitated.  Incapacitation of the alleged perpetrator does not excuse otherwise prohibited conduct.