Important Definitions

Title IX
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 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 complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence in a way that limits its effects and prevents its recurrence. 

The University at Albany student code of conduct, Community Rights and Responsibilities, defines consent as follows:

Affirmative Consent is a clear, unambiguous, knowing, informed, and voluntary agreement between all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive. Silence or lack of resistance cannot be interpreted as consent. Seeking and having consent accepted is the responsibility of the person(s) initiating each specific sexual act regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not constitute consent to any other sexual act. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time. When consent is withdrawn or cannot be given, sexual activity must stop. Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated. Incapacitation occurs when an individual lacks the ability to fully, knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation includes impairment due to drugs or alcohol (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary), the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, if any of the parties are under the age of 17, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.

Community Rights and Responsibilities, defines the below prohibited conduct as follows:

Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate Partner Violence includes Dating Violence and Domestic Violence, both of which are further defined below. Intimate Partner Violence can occur in relationships of the same or different genders.

Dating Violence
Any act of violence, including physical, sexual, psychological, and verbal violence, committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. Dating Violence can occur as a single act, or it can consist of a pattern of violent, abusive, or coercive acts that serve to exercise power and control in the context of a romantic or intimate relationship. 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 the 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.

Domestic Violence
Any violent felony, non-violent felony, or misdemeanor crime, as those terms are defined by the laws of the State of New York and of the federal government committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, a person sharing a child with the victim, or a person cohabitating with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner.

Intentionally engaging in a course of conduct, directed at a specific person, which is likely to cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or cause that person to suffer substantial emotional damage. Examples include, but are not limited to, repeatedly following such person(s), repeatedly committing acts that alarm, cause fear, or seriously annoy such other person(s) and that serve no legitimate purpose, and repeatedly communicating by any means, including electronic means, with such person(s) in a manner likely to intimate, annoy or alarm him or her. Stalking does not require direct contact between parties and can be accomplished in many ways, including through the use of electronic media such as internet, pagers, cell phones, or other similar devices.

Sexual Harassment>
Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to effectively alter or deny the individual reasonable access to University resources or that such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or sexually offensive environment for learning, working or living on campus.

Rape, Sexual Assault and Sexual Exploitation
Sexual Assault I - By a stranger or acquaintance, 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) where active consent was not established. Where the victim purported to give consent, but the accused used force, threat, intimidation, or the victim’s mental or physical helplessness, the charge of Sexual Assault I also applies. Mental or physical helplessness would include, but not be limited to, sleep, as well as the inability to consent due to excessive alcohol or drug use or consumption.

Sexual Assault II - By a stranger or acquaintance, touching a person’s intimate parts (defined as genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks), whether directly or through clothing, where active consent was not established. Sexual Assault II also includes forcing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts. Where the victim purported to give consent, but the accused used force, threat, intimidation, or the victim’s mental or physical helplessness, the charge of Sexual Assault II also applies. Mental or physical helplessness would include, but not be limited to, sleep, as well as the inability to consent due to excessive alcohol or drug use or consumption.

Sexual Exploitation - 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.2

Abuse of the Student Conduct System
Abusing the Student Conduct System, including but not limited to:

  • Failure to obey the summons of a Student Conduct Body or University official.
  • Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a Student Conduct Body.
  • Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a student conduct proceeding.
  • Knowingly instituting a student conduct referral without cause.
  • Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the Student Conduct System.
  • Attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of a Student Conduct Body prior to, and/or during, and/or after a student conduct proceeding.
  • Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a Student Conduct Body prior to, and/or during, and/or after a proceeding.
  • Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under the student code of conduct.
  • Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the Student Conduct System.

A. Engaging, directly or indirectly, in any action or attempting to harass, intimidate, retaliate against, or improperly influence any individual involved with the Student Conduct System.

B. An intentional act taken against an individual who initiates any sexual misconduct complaint, including stalking of intimate partner violence, pursues legal recourse for such a complaint, or participants in any manner in the investigation of such a report. Any act of retaliation is prohibited and is subject to a student conduct referral.

2Sexual exploitation definition adapted from Students Active for Ending Rape, c 2003.