At Southeast Missouri State University, any non-consensual sexual activity is prohibited. The University’s Procedures for Defining and Adjudicating Sexual Violence Cases Involving Students provides a clear explanation of consent.
Consent is an affirmative decision to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity given by clear actions or words.
Students should understand that consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance alone. Furthermore, a current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
Conduct will be considered “without consent” if no clear consent, verbal or nonverbal, is given. The perspective of a reasonable person will be the basis for determining whether an accused student knew, or reasonably should have known, whether consent was given. However, being intoxicated or incapacitated does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent and will not be an excuse for sexual misconduct.
Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions or judgments because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction). Incapacitation can occur mentally, from a cognitive impairment or development disability, or physically, from the use of alcohol or other drug use (voluntary or involuntary), or blackout (a period where memory formation is blocked or a period of consistent memory loss).
Sexual activity with someone you know to be or should know to be incapacitated constitutes a violation of the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, unconsciousness, involuntary physical restraint, or from the use of date rape drugs (voluntary or involuntary) (ATIXA, 2017).
Consent cannot be obtained through the use of physical force, threats, intimidation, or coercion. Sexual activity accompanied by any of these behaviors is not consensual.
Coercion refers to unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. When someone makes it clear that he/she does not want to engage in sexual activity or does not want to go beyond a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be considered coercive. The use of coercion can involve the use of pressure, manipulation, substances, and/or force. Ignoring objections of another person is a form of coercion.
Force refers to the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to engage in sexual contact or intercourse. Force can also include threats, intimidation (implied threats), or coercion used to overcome resistance (Rutgers, 2017).