Policy Definitions & Key Terms

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Policy Definitions

Sexual misconduct

Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, dating violence and domestic violence.

Sexual assault

Sexual assault is any sexual contact that does not involve the knowing consent of each person, including

  1. any form of sexual penetration without consent; and
  2. any intentional or knowing touching or fondling by either person, directly or through clothing, of the sex organs, buttocks, or breasts of the other person for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of either person without consent.


Consent is informed, freely and actively given, mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. A person can withdraw consent at any time. There is no consent when there is force, threats, intimidation, or duress. A person’s lack of verbal or physical resistance or manner of dress does not constitute consent. Consent to past sexual activity with another person does not constitute consent to future sexual activity with that person. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not constitute consent to engage in sexual activity with another person. A person cannot consent to sexual activity if such person is unable to understand the nature, fact, or extent of the activity or give knowing consent due to circumstances including without limitation the following:

  1. the person is incapacitated due to the use or influence of alcohol or drugs;
  2. the person is asleep or unconscious;
  3. the person is under the legal age to provide consent; or
  4. the person has a disability that prevents such person from having the ability or capacity to give consent.

Sexual exploitation

The use of another person’s nudity or sexual activity without consent for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit, personal advantage, or any other non-legitimate purpose. Sexual exploitation includes, but is not limited to:

  1. without the knowledge and consent of all participants, observing, recording, or photographing nudity or sexual activity of one or more persons in a location where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, allowing another to observe, record, or photograph nudity or sexual activity of one or more persons, or otherwise distributing recordings, photographs, or other images of the nudity or sexual activity of one or more persons; and
  2. sending sexually explicit materials of another person without consent of the recipient.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual, sex-based, or gender-based conduct, whether verbal, written, electronic and/or physical in nature:

  1. that is (1) sufficiently severe or pervasive; and (2) objectively offensive; and (3) unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits a person’s ability to participate or benefit from educational and/or employment opportunities, assessments, or status at the University; or
  2. by a person having power or authority over another in which submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of educational and/or employment opportunities, participation, assessments, or status at the University.


Stalking is two or more acts directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her, his, or others' safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress, and includes, but is not limited to, following, monitoring, surveilling, or threatening a person; initiating or continuing contact with a person without consent; or interfering with or damaging a person's property.

Dating violence

Dating violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, and the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party's statement and with consideration of the length of relationship, the type of the relationship, and the frequency of the interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic violence

Domestic violence is felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by:

  1. a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the alleged victim;
  2. a person with whom the alleged victim shares a child in common;
  3. a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the alleged victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
  4. a person similarly situated to a spouse of the alleged victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Illinois; or
  5. any other person against an adult or youth alleged victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Illinois.


Retaliation is any action, or attempted action, directly or indirectly, against any person(s), who, in good faith, reports or discloses a violation of this policy, files a complaint, and/or otherwise participates in an investigation, proceeding, complaint, or hearing under this policy. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to harassment, discrimination, threats, job termination, adjustment in pay or responsibilities, or negative impact on academic progress. Actions are considered retaliatory if they have a materially adverse effect on the working, academic, or living environment of a person; or if they hinder or prevent the person from effectively carrying out their University responsibilities. Any person or group within the scope of this policy who engages in retaliation is subject to a separate complaint of retaliation under this policy.

Key Terms

Campus Security Authorities ("CSAs")

Categories of University employees and University units specified in the Clery Act and required to report good faith allegations that certain crimes occurred on campus, in public areas bordering campus, and in non-campus buildings owned or controlled by the University.

Clery Act

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), which requires the university to record and report certain crimes, to disclose certain statistics, to provide campus safety and security policy statements, and to notify the campus community regarding certain crimes and other serious incidents.

Confidential advisor

A person employed or contracted by a higher education institution to provide emergency and ongoing support to student survivors of sexual violence with the training, duties, and responsibilities described within the Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act. The university has confidential advisors to provide those who have experienced sexual misconduct with information on available counseling and crisis response services, to discuss reporting options and possible outcomes, and to advise survivors of their rights and the university’s responsibilities regarding orders of protection, no contact directives, or similar orders that the university, a criminal court, or a civil court may issue. If a survivor requests, confidential advisors can also liaise with campus officials, rape crisis centers, sexual assault centers, the University of Illinois Police Department and/or local law enforcement. Upon request, confidential advisors can also assist survivors with contacting and reporting to campus officials, the University of Illinois Police department, and/or local law enforcement, and/or requesting appropriate interim/protective measures. Before being designated a confidential advisor, individuals must have 40 hours of training on sexual violence, and subsequently attend a minimum of 6 hours of ongoing education training annually on issues related to sexual violence.

Confidential resource

An individual who is not required to disclose reports of sexual misconduct to the University or law enforcement.

Non-confidential resource

An individual who is required to disclose reports of sexual misconduct to the University or law enforcement.

Responsible employee

Any University employee

  1. who has the authority to take action to address complaints of sexual violence;
  2. who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual violence or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate university officials; or
  3. whom a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty.


An individual who has experienced sexual misconduct.

Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct, in education programs and activities for institutions that receive federal financial assistance, as well as retaliation for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege protected by Title IX.

Title IX Coordinator

The University official responsible for coordinating the University's efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Please review Title IX Coordinator for more information.