- Two sober students talk about having sex. They both agree verbally before sexual activity begins.
- Two students have talked about having sex previously. This time, one student starts taking off her clothes. Then the other student takes of his clothes. Neither student has consumed more than two drinks of alcohol over the last three hours. Though non-verbal, both students give active and enthusiastic consent to sexual activity.
- Use of Physical force: A student says “Fine” after being pushed up against the wall by a sexual initiator.
- Use of Threats: A student says “Okay” after the initiator says “I’ll tell everyone that you’re a prude.”
- Use of Intimidating Behavior: A student says “Sure” after the initiator pulls back his/her hand as if ready to strike the student’s face.
- Use of Coercion: A student says “Yes” after two hours of regular and escalating sexual advances by the initiator.
Mark is a junior at the University. Beth is a sophomore. Mark comes to Beth’s residence hall room with some mutual friends to watch a movie. Mark and Beth, who have never met before, are attracted to each other. After the movie, everyone leaves, and Mark and Beth are alone. They hit it off, and are soon becoming more intimate. They start to make out. Mark verbally expresses his desire to have sex with Beth. Beth, who was abused by a baby-sitter when she was five, and has not had any sexual relations since, is shocked at how quickly things are progressing. As Mark takes her by the wrist over to the bed, lays her down, undresses her, and begins to have intercourse with her, Beth has a severe flashback to her childhood trauma. She wants to tell Mark to stop, but cannot. Beth is stiff and unresponsive during the intercourse. Is this a policy violation?
- Mark would be held responsible in this scenario for Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse. It is the duty of the sexual initiator, Mark, to make sure that he has mutually understandable consent to engage in sex. Though consent need not be verbal, verbal consent is the clearest form of consent. Here, Mark had no verbal or non-verbal mutually understandable indication from Beth that she consented to sexual intercourse. Of course, wherever possible, students should attempt to be as clear as possible as to whether or not sexual contact is desired, but students must be aware that for psychological reasons, or because of alcohol or drug use, one’s partner may not be in a position to provide as clear an indication as the policy requires. As the policy makes clear, consent must be actively, not passively, given.
EXAMPLE of Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse:
Kevin and Amy are at a party. Kevin is not sure how much Amy has been drinking, but he is pretty sure it’s a lot. After the party, he walks Amy to her room, and Amy comes on to Kevin, initiating sexual activity. Kevin asks her if she is really up to this, and Amy says yes. Clothes go flying, and they end up in Amy’s bed. Suddenly, Amy runs for the bathroom. When she returns, her face is pale, and Kevin thinks she may have thrown up. Amy gets back into bed, and they begin to have sexual intercourse. Kevin is having a good time, though he can’t help but notice that Amy seems pretty groggy and passive, and he thinks Amy may have even passed out briefly during the sex, but he does not stop. When Kevin runs into Amy the next day, he thanks her for the wild night. Amy remembers nothing, and decides to make a complaint to Student Conduct.
- This is a violation of the Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse Policy. Kevin should have known that Amy was incapable of making a rational, reasonable decision about sex. Even if Amy seemed to consent, Kevin was well aware that Amy had consumed a large amount of alcohol, and Kevin thought Amy was physically ill, and that she passed out during sex. Kevin is accountable for taking advantage of Amy in her condition. This is not the level of respectful conduct expected of students.
Amanda and Bill meet at a party. They spend the evening dancing and getting to know each other. Bill convinces Amanda to come up to his room. From 11:00pm until 3:00am, Bill uses every line he can think of to convince Amanda to have sex with him, but she adamantly refuses. He keeps at her, and begins to question her religious convictions, and accuses her of being “a prude.” Finally, it seems to Bill that her resolve is weakening, and he convinces her to give him a "hand job" (hand to genital contact). Amanda would never had done it but for Bill's incessant advances. He feels that he successfully seduced her, and that she wanted to do it all along, but was playing shy and hard to get. Why else would she have come up to his room alone after the party? If she really didn't want it, she could have left.
- Bill is responsible for violating the University Non-Consensual Sexual Contact policy. It is likely that a University Review Meeting board would find that the degree and duration of the pressure Bill applied to Amanda are unreasonable. Bill coerced Amanda into performing unwanted sexual touching upon him. Where sexual activity is coerced, it is forced. Consent is not effective when forced. Sex without effective consent is Sexual Misconduct.
Not all educational or workplace conduct that may be described as “harassment” affects the terms, conditions or privileges of employment or education. For example, a mere utterance of an ethnic, gender‐based or racial epithet which creates offensive feelings in a student or would not normally affect the terms and conditions of their education or workplace.
- Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment: A professor insists that a student have sex with him/her in exchange for a good grade. This is harassment regardless of whether the student agrees to the request and is a policy violation for the faculty member. Please read the PLU Staff and Faculty policy.
- Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment: A student repeatedly sends sexually oriented jokes around on an email list s/he created, even when asked to stop, causing one recipient to avoid the sender on campus and in the residence hall in which they both live.
- Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment: Explicit sexual pictures are displayed in a public place such as on the exterior of a residence hall door or on a computer monitor in a public space.
- Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment: Two students frequently ‘rate’ several other students’ bodies and sex appeal and comment suggestively online about their clothing and appearance.
- Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment: A staff member engages students in discussions about their past sexual experiences, yet the conversation is not in any way germane to the subject matter of the class. She probes for explicit details, and demands that students answer her, though they are clearly uncomfortable and hesitant.
- Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment: An ex‐girlfriend widely spreads false stories about her sex life with her former boyfriend to the clear discomfort of the ex-boyfriend, turning him into a social outcast on campus
- Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment: A student grabbed another student by the hair, then grabbed her breast and put his mouth on it.
- Retaliatory Harassment: A student accuses someone in his residence hall of Sexual Misconduct and the Resident Director excludes the Complainant from future residence hall events.
A student on an athletic team offers her friend as a sexual partner to her teammate(s). The friend does not feel like he has an a choice in the matter.
- Threatening another person with a sex act against them: John caught Anne cheating in class. Anne tells John that her friend Rob will molest him if he tells the professor.
- Stalking (including cyber-stalking): Cindy and Sarah are ex-partners. Cindy regularly posts on Sarah’s Facebook wall and leaves notes on Sarah’s car. These messages make Sarah very uncomfortable and sometimes unsafe.
- Engaging in indecent exposure: Tom regularly walks back to his room naked from the shower.
During the course of the Review Process, it was found that the Complainant had consumed large amounts of alcohol and had “blacked out” during parts of the incident. This extreme level of alcohol consumption was part of the reason that she was not found to be able to give effective consent to sexual activity. During the Review Process, there were indications that the extreme level of alcohol consumption was a regular pattern of behavior for the Complainant. This pattern of high risk drinking may be addressed by the Review Officers by requiring substance use assessment and treatment for the Complainant.