Consent

The University's Sexual Violence Policy requires Affirmative Consent.

Affirmative Consent is an understandable exchange of affirmative words or actions, which indicate a willingness by all parties to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.  Consent must be informed, freely and actively given.  It is the responsibility of the initiator to obtain clear and affirmative responses at each stage of sexual involvement. 

Whether an individual has taken advantage of a position of influence over an alleged victim may be a factor in determining consent. For example, a position of influence could include supervisory or disciplinary authority.

Silence, previous sexual relationships or experiences, and/or a current relationship may not, in themselves, be taken to imply consent. While nonverbal consent is possible (through active participation), it is best to obtain verbal consent.  Similarly, consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.  Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time, as long as the withdrawal is communicated clearly. 

Consent cannot be obtained through incapacitation, force, or coercion.

Incapacitation. An individual who is incapacitated by alcohol and/or drugs both voluntarily or involuntarily consumed may not give consent. Alcohol or drug related incapacitation is more severe than impairment, being under the influence, or intoxication. Evidence of incapacity may be detected from context clues, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol on the breath, shaky equilibrium, vomiting, unusual behavior or unconsciousness. While context clues are important in determining incapacitation, they alone do not necessarily indicate incapacitation.
Persons unable to consent due to incapacitation also include, but are not limited to: persons under age 16; persons who are intellectually incapable of understanding the implications and consequences of the act or actions in question; and persons who are physically helpless. A physically helpless person is one who is asleep, blacked out, involuntarily physically restrained, unconscious, or, for any other reason, unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in any act.

The use of alcohol or drugs to render another person mentally or physically incapacitated as a precursor to or part of a sexual assault is prohibited. The use of alcohol, medications or other drugs by the respondent or accused does not excuse a violation of this Policy.

Force is the use of physical strength or action (no matter how slight), violence, threats of violence or intimidation (implied threats of violence) as a means to engage in sexual activity. A person who is the object of actual or threatened force is not required to physically, verbally or otherwise resist the aggressor.

Coercion is unreasonable pressure or emotional manipulation to persuade another to engage in sexual activity. When someone makes it clear that s/he does not want to engage in sexual behavior, or s/he does not want to go beyond a certain point of sexual activity, continued pressure beyond that point can be considered coercive. Being coerced into sexual activity is not consent to that activity.

Talk to Your Partner About Consent

Make consent part of the conversation with your partner.  You will be able to share your expectations, learn about what your partner enjoys, and put the brakes on before things go too far.  It can also be a fun way to get excited about your pending (and mutually agreed upon) intimacy.

How do you know you have consent? Here's some guidance to help you navigate your conversation about consent.  If you're ever unsure if you have consent, you don't.

YES messages (consent can be withdrawn at any time)

"Yes"
"That would be great!"
"That's what I want too."
"I want to…"
"I am ready to…"

NO messages

"No."
"Stop."
"Not now."
"Not tonight." (even if you've done it before)
"I've changed my mind."
"I'm not ready."
"I'm not sure."
"I don't know."
"I may have had too much to drink."
"I'm scared."
Incapacitation/Severe intoxication.
You don't think they would agree to have sex if they were sober.
You are too intoxicated to gauge consent.
Discomfort.
Lack of eye contact.
Crossed arms.
Silence.
Your partner is asleep.
You are using physical force or size to have sex.
You hope your partner will say nothing and go with the flow.
You have asked repeatedly or put pressure on them.

You Should Pause and Talk (because you do NOT have Affirmative Consent)

You are not sure what the other person wants.
You feel like you are getting mixed signals.
You have not talked about what you want to do.
You assume that you will do the same thing as before.
Your partner stops or is not responsive.