Definition of Sexual Misconduct and Related Terms
Union's Sexual Assault Support Number: (518) 388-6600
State law defines various violent or non-consensual sexual acts as crimes. Additionally, Union has defined categories of sexual misconduct, as stated below, for which College disciplinary action may be imposed. Generally speaking, Union considers sexual assault violations to be the most serious, and therefore imposes the most severe sanctions, up to and including suspension or expulsion. However, Union reserves the right to impose any level of discipline, up to and including suspension or expulsion, for any act of sexual misconduct or sexual exploitation.
Acts of sexual misconduct may be committed by men against women, women against men, men against men, and women against women. The issue in any case is not the gender of the persons involved but the acts. Some examples can help you understand the differences.
Sexual Assault: Sexual Assault refers to any sexual penetration (anal, oral or vaginal), however slight, with any object, or sexual intercourse by a man or woman upon a man or woman without consent. Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger or object, or oral copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact.
Sexual Misconduct: Sexual Misconduct refers to any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object by a man or woman upon a man or woman without consent. Sexual touching includes any bodily contact with the breasts, groin, genitals, mouth, or other bodily orifice of another individual, or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner. Sexual Misconduct II also includes any disrobing of another or exposure to another by a man or woman without effective consent.
Sexual Exploitation: Sexual Exploitation refers to a situation in which a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another, and situations in which the conduct does not fall within the definitions of Sexual Misconduct I or II. Sanctions for sexual exploitation can vary greatly depend on the severity of the violation. Severe cases can involve suspension or expulsion. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual voyeurism (such as watching a person undressing, using the bathroom or engaged in sexual acts without the consent of the person observed).
- Taking pictures or video or audio recording of another in a sexual act, or in any other private activity without the consent of all involved.
- Prostitution (such as selling or exchanging sexual acts for money or something else of value or benefit).
- Engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and without informing the other person of the infection
- Administering drugs (such as “date rape” drugs) to another person without his or her knowledge or effective consent.
- Compelling or inducing another person to engage in a sexual act by means of: (i) pressuring, cajoling, or arguing with the individual; (ii) instilling a fear of dire consequences (e.g., by exposure of a secret, fact, or falsity as fact), such as ridicule, if a demand is not complied with; and/or (iii) plying the individual with alcohol.
Consent is permission, freely given by word or action, by all participants to an activity. For consent to be valid, there must be an expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that particular sexual conduct. Here are some things to know about consent:
- 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 drugs.
- A student who engages in sexual activity when the student knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incompetent has violated this Policy.
- It is not an excuse that the student 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.
- 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.
- A verbal "no" or other verbal expression of dissent and/or physical resistance, no matter how indecisive or week or passive, always means "no."
Campus Sexual Misconduct Bill of Rights
As a survivor of sexual assault, you have the right:
- To have any allegation of sexual assault treated seriously and to be treated with dignity.
- To have information on existing medical, counseling, mental health, or student services for victims of sexual assault, both on the campus and in the community, whether or not the crime is reported to campus or civil authorities.
- To have any allegation of sexual assault investigated and adjudicated by the appropriate criminal and civil authorities of the jurisdiction in which the crime occurred. To full and prompt cooperation and assistance of campus personnel in notifying the proper authorities.
- To be free from any suggestion that the victim is responsible for the commission of the crime. To be free from any suggestion that the victim was negligent or assumed the risk of being assaulted.
- To be free from any suggestion that the victim must report the crime to be assured of any other right guaranteed under the policy.
- To be free from any suggestion that the victim should refrain from reporting crimes in order to avoid unwanted personal publicity.
- To have an advocate present, in any campus disciplinary proceeding that the institution permits to the accused.
- To be notified of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding against the accused.
- To full, prompt, and victim-sensitive cooperation of campus personnel in obtaining, securing and maintaining evidence, including a medical examination if it is necessary to preserve evidence of the assault.
- To be informed of, and assisting in, exercising any rights that may be provided by law to compel the disclosure of the results of testing of sexual assault suspects for communicable diseases.
- To be informed of, and assisted in, exercising any rights to be confidentially, or anonymously, tested for sexually transmitted disease or immunodeficiency virus.
- To have access to counseling, under the terms and conditions as apply to other students seeking such counseling, from appropriate campus mental health service entities, or by other sexual assault victims, at the election of the victim.
- To require campus personnel to take reasonable and necessary action to prevent further unwanted contact of victims with their alleged assailants including, but not limited to, the immediate relocation of the victim to safe alternate housing and transfer of classes, if requested, if such changes are reasonably available.
As a student accused of sexual misconduct you are entitled:
- To be treated with respect by College officials. To take advantage of campus support resources (Counseling Services, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and Health Services).
- To have an advisor during a sexual misconduct Administrative Review or Formal Adjudication Procedure in accordance with the Student Conduct Code. To have access to counseling.
- To be heard in accordance with the Student Conduct Code.