Policy Definitions & Key Terms

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Policy Definitions

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct means Title IX Sexual Harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, unwelcome sexual, sex or gender-based conduct, sexual violence, or sexual exploitation, as defined below. Prohibited Sexual Misconduct means any conduct prohibited by this (Sexual Misconduct) policy other than Title IX Sexual Harassment.

Title IX Sexual Harassment

Title IX Sexual Harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  • Quid pro quo: A university employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the university on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct
  • Hostile environment: Unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the university’s education program or activity;
  • Sexual Assault (as defined in this policy);
  • Stalking (as defined in this policy);
  • Dating Violence (as defined in this policy); or
  • Domestic Violence (as defined in this policy).

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault (See 20 U.S.C. 1092 (f)(6)(A)(v)) means:

  • Forcible Fondling. Fondling is the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim. Private body parts includes breasts, buttocks, groin, and sex organs.
  • Incest. Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
  • Rape. The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. This offense includes attempted rape and assault with intent to commit rape.
  • Sexual Assault with an Object. To use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, without the consent of the victim.
  • Forcible Sodomy. Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, without the consent of the victim.
  • Statutory Rape. Statutory Rape is sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.


Consent means mutually understood words or actions indicating a freely given, informed agreement to engage in a particular sexual activity with a specific person or persons. Consent must be voluntarily given and cannot be the result of Coercion. A person’s lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission resulting from use or threat of force does not constitute consent. A person’s manner of dress does not constitute consent. A person’s consent to past sexual activity does not constitute consent to future sexual activity. A person’s consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not constitute consent to engage in sexual activity with another. A person can withdraw consent at any time.

A person cannot consent to sexual activity if that 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:

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

To be found responsible in a case involving a Complainant who could not consent to sexual activity, the Respondent must have known, or should have known, the Complainant was unable to understand the nature of the sexual activity or give knowing consent due to the circumstances. “Should have known” is an objective, reasonable person standard. That is, would a reasonable person have recognized that the Complainant could not consent to the sexual activity.


Coercion is the use of force, threats, intimidation, or severe or persistent pressure that would reasonably cause an individual to fear significant consequences if they refuse to engage in sexual contact. In evaluating whether Coercion was used, the University will consider: (1) the frequency, intensity, and duration of the pressure; (2) the degree of isolation of the person being pressured; and (3) any actual or perceived power differential between the parties in the context of their respective roles within the University. For example, when a person expresses a decision not to participate in a particular sexual activity, a decision to stop, or a decision not to go beyond a certain sexual interaction, continued pressure can be coercive.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation means the use of another person’s nudity or sexual activity without consent for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, or anyone’s advantage or benefit other than the person whose nudity or sexual activity is being used. Sexual Exploitation includes, but is not limited to:

  • observing, recording, or photographing nudity or sexual activity of one or more persons without their consent 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 without their consent; or
  • otherwise distributing recordings, photographs, or other images of the nudity or sexual activity of one or more persons without their consent.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment means unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature or unwelcome conduct based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity when:

  1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or educational opportunities, assessment or status at the university;
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or educational decisions affecting such individual; or
  3. such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive; and objectively offensive; and unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits a person’s ability to participate or benefit from educational or employment opportunities, assessments, or status at the University.

Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence means physical sexual acts attempted or perpetrated against a person’s will or when a person is incapable of giving consent.


Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purposes of this definition:

  • Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
  • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
  • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Dating Violence

Dating Violence means violence committed by a person:

  1. who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
  2. where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of the following factors:
    1. the length of relationship;
    2. the type of relationship; and
    3. the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence means any crime(s) committed against an individual by a current or former spouse or intimate partner (as defined under the family or domestic violence laws of Illinois), including but not limited to, domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, cyberstalking, sexual assault, and sexual abuse.


Retaliation means intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, its implementing regulations, or this policy, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this policy. Retaliation may include, but is not limited to harassment, discrimination, threats, or adverse employment action. Any person or group within the scope of this policy who engages in prohibited retaliation is subject to a separate complaint of retaliation under this policy.

Unwelcome sexual, sex or gender-based conduct

Unwelcome sexual, sex or gender-based conduct means any unwelcome sexual, sex-based, or gender-based conduct occurring within or having an adverse impact on the workplace or academic environment, regardless of how it is conducted (physically, verbally, in writing, or via an electronic medium) and regardless of the sexes or genders of the individuals involved. This category of misconduct comes in three forms, each of which may also qualify as Title IX Sexual Harassment or violate the Nondiscrimination Policy in some circumstances:

  • Gender-Based or Sexual Hostility: Objectively offensive treatment of another person or group, through words or conduct, with hostility, objectification, exclusion, or as having inferior status based on sex, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), or sexual orientation.
  • Unwanted Sexual Attention: Objectively offensive sexual attention, advances, or comments that a person reasonably should know are unwanted or which continue to occur or persist after the recipient has communicated a desire that the behavior stop.
  • Sexual Coercion: Use of force, violence, threats, or other threats of harm by an individual to compel or attempt to compel another individual to engage in unwelcome sexual activity.

Unwelcome sexual, sex or gender-based conduct need not be illegal under existing laws to violate this policy. To be disciplined through a formal complaint process, however, the behavior must be by an employee acting in the course of employment. In investigating and responding to reports of violations, due consideration will be given to an individual’s rights to free speech, expression, and academic freedom. While speech can be used to harass or engage in unwelcome sexual, sex or gender-based conduct and can provide evidence of discriminatory intent, speech does not violate this policy just because it is subjectively offensive. A reasonable person must also find it offensive, it must lack bona fide academic purpose, and it must fall within one of the definitions of misconduct found in this policy. What sanctions or other responsive actions may be deemed appropriate, if any, will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case.

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.

For an expanded definition please visit Campus Security Authorities.

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.


Complainant means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual misconduct, including Title IX Sexual Harassment.

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 advisors are not designated as "Responsible Employees," as defined below.

Confidential resource

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

Formal complaint

Formal complaint means a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual misconduct, including Title IX Sexual Harassment, against a respondent and requesting that the recipient investigate the allegation of sexual misconduct, including Title IX Sexual Harassment. When the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator is not a complainant or otherwise a party.

Non-confidential resource

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


Respondent means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual misconduct, including Title IX Sexual Harassment.

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.

Please review FAQs about Employee Reporting Obligations for more information.

Supportive measures

Supportive measures means non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment. Supportive measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures. The University must maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the complainant or respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the University to provide the supportive measures.


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.