There are many terms used when discussing incidents and responds to sexual violence/misconduct. To create a shared understanding of terms used at the College, the following definitions have been established:
- Accused individual: A person accused of a violation who has not yet entered a judicial or College administrative conduct or review process.
- Affirmative consent: A knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
- Reporting Individual: Encompasses the terms victim, survivor, complainant, claimant, witness with victim status, and any other term used by the College to reference an individual who brings forth a report of a violation.
- Responding Individual: A person accused of a violation who has entered the College’s administrative review process or administrative student conduct process
- Sexual assault: Any physical sexual act committed without consent.
- Sex discrimination: Includes all forms of sexual misconduct by employees, students, or third parties against employees, students, or third parties. Students, College employees, and third parties are prohibited from harassing other students and/or employees whether or not the incidents of harassment occur on the College campus and whether or not the incidents occur during working hours.
- Sexual Misconduct: means sexual harassment or sexual violence and encompasses a wide range of behavior for sexual purposes that is against another’s will or at the expense of another. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking of a sexual nature, or any conduct of a sexual nature that is nonconsensual, or has the effect of threatening or intimidating another.
- Sexual violence: The term sexual violence as used throughout this policy includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, and domestic violence, dating violence, intimate partner violence and stalking.
- Sexual harassment: Unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program and/or activities, and is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.
Federal and State Laws referred to directly or indirectly throughout this policy
- Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act
This federal law, passed in 1990, the “Clery Act” requires all colleges and universities who receive federal funding to share information about crime on campus and their efforts to improve campus safety through the publishing of an annual security report. Additionally, the act requires institutions to provide survivors of sexual violence with reasonable accommodations and assistance in reporting and it requires institutions to outline specific policies and procedures for the prevention of sexual violence in their annual security reports.
- New York State Education Law Article 129-B
Also known as “Enough is Enough”, requires all colleges in the State of New York to adopt a comprehensive set of policies and guidelines, including a uniform definition of affirmative consent, a statewide amnesty policy, and expanded access to law enforcement.
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive Federal financial assistance. The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Colleges must promptly respond to known instances of gender discrimination, which includes sexual harassment and sexual violence, in a way that limits its effects and prevents its recurrence.
- Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) Reauthorization Act of 2013
This federal law requires colleges and universities to: (1) report dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, beyond crime categories the Clery Act already mandates; (2) adopt certain student discipline procedures, such as for notifying purported victims of their rights; and (3) adopt certain institutional policies to address and prevent campus sexual violence through the education and training of an institution’s community.
The following conduct is prohibited by Westchester Community College’s Student Code of Conduct and is applicable to students:
- Sexual Harassment
Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive campus, educational or working environment for another person. This includes unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, inappropriate sexual or gender-based activities, comments or gestures, or other forms of verbal or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment.
Obscene or indecent behavior, which includes, but is not limited to: indecent exposure or the display of sexual behavior that would reasonably be offensive to others; disorderly, lewd, indecent, or obscene conduct or expression.
Intentionally engaging in a course of conduct, directed at a specific person, which is likely to causes a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or cause that person to suffer substantial emotional damage. Stalking does not require direct contact between parties and can be accomplished in many ways, including through the use of electronic media such as the internet, pagers, cell phones, or other similar devices. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Repeatedly committing unwanted acts that alarm, cause fear, or seriously annoy a member of the College community or family member that serve no legitimate purpose.
- Repeatedly engaging in unwanted communications, including electronic means, with any member of the College community in a manner likely to alarm, cause fear, or seriously annoy that serve no legitimate purpose.
- Repeatedly following another person without his or her consent.
- Contacting any member of the College community after being asked or ordered not to contact this person.
- Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate partner violence includes dating violence and domestic violence, both are defined below. Intimate partner violence can occur in relationships of the same or different genders.
Any act of 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 victim’s statement and with consideration of the type and length of the relationship and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Two people may be in a romantic or intimate relationship, regardless of whether the relationship is sexual in nature; however, neither a casual acquaintance nor ordinary fraternization between two individuals in a business or social context shall constitute a romantic or intimate relationship.
Any violent action committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, a person sharing a child with the victim, or a person cohabiting with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner. Includes asserted violent misdemeanor and felony offenses committed by the victim’s current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, person similarly situated under domestic or family violence law, or anyone else protected under domestic or family violence law.
- Rape, Sexual Assault & Sexual Exploitation
Any form of non-consensual sexual activity or sexual assault, including:
Sexual Assault I
Sexual intercourse or any sexual penetration, however slight, of another person’s oral, anal, or genital opening with any object (an object includes but is not limited to parts of a person’s body) without the active consent of the victim.
Sexual Assault II
Touching a person’s intimate parts (defined as genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks), whether directly or through clothing, without the active consent of the victim. Sexual Assault II also includes forcing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts.
Nonconsensual, abusive sexual behavior that does not otherwise constitute Sexual Assault I, Sexual Assault II or Sexual Harassment. Examples include but are not limited to: intentional, nonconsensual tampering with or removal of condoms or other methods of birth control and STI prevention prior to or during sexual contact in a manner that significantly increases the likelihood of STI contraction and/or pregnancy by the non-consenting party; nonconsensual video or audio taping of sexual activity; allowing others to watch consensual or nonconsensual sexual activity without the consent of a sexual partner; observing others engaged in dressing/undressing or in sexual acts without their knowledge or consent; trafficking people to be sold for sex; and inducing incapacitation with the intent to sexually assault another person.