Definitions Relating to Sexual Harassment

Many terms are used in the context of sexual harassment. The following will provide some common definitions and examples.

Actual knowledge: The notice of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator or any official of the College who has authority to institute corrective measures of behalf of the College shall be deemed actual knowledge on the part of the College.

Complainant: is an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment. For the purposes of this procedure a Complainant may be an individual applying for admission or employment, an employee, a student or an individual otherwise participating in or attempting to participate in the College’s education programs and activities.

Respondent: is an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

Formal complaint: is a document filed by the complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that the College investigate the allegation of sexual harassment. Note: At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in an educational program or activity of the College at which the formal complaint is filed.

Consent: “Consent” must be informed, voluntary, and mutual and can be withdrawn at any time. There is no consent when there is force, expressed or implied, or when coercion, intimidation, threats, or duress is used. Whether or not a person has taken advantage of a position of influence over another person may be a factor in determining consent. Silence or absence of resistance does not imply consent. Past consent to sexual activity with another person does not imply ongoing future consent with that person or consent to that same sexual activity with another person.

Incapacitation: An individual who is incapacitated is unable to give consent to sexual contact. States of incapacitation include sleep, unconsciousness, intermittent consciousness, intoxication, or any other state where the individual is unaware that sexual contact is occurring or is otherwise unable to give informed and voluntarily consent. Incapacitation may also exist because of a mental or developmental disability that impairs the ability to consent to sexual contact. Example: A person who is taking pain medication and falls asleep under the influence of the medication can be incapacitated and not be able to give consent to sexual contact.

Sexual Misconduct: Committing sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, or statutory rape, as defined below or under Alabama state law.

Harassment: The striking, shoving, kicking, or otherwise touching or making physical contact in regard to another for the purpose of harassing, annoying or alarming; and/or directing abusive or obscene language or making an obscene gesture toward someone for the purpose of harassing, annoying, or alarming. Example: Making or using persistent derogatory comments, epithets, or slurs that place a person in a hostile or fearful environment or where the person’s safety is in jeopardy.

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

  • A school employee conditioning education benefits on participating in unwelcome sexual conduct (i.e. quid pro quo);
  • Unwelcomed conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity; or
  • Stalking, dating violence, or domestic violence. Definitions of Sexually Based Offenses.