School Policies

Stanford Definitions

Sexual misconduct is the commission of a sexual act, whether by a stranger or nonstranger and regardless of the gender of any party, which occurs without indication of consent. The following acts or attempted acts can be the subject of a Sexual Misconduct or Sexual Assault charge:

  • vaginal or anal intercourse;
  • digital penetration;
  • oral copulation; or
  • penetration with a foreign object

The following completed acts can also be the subject of a Sexual Misconduct charge:

  • unwanted touching or kissing of an intimate body part (whether directly or through clothing); or
  • recording, photographing, transmitting, viewing or distributing intimate or sexual images without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved.

Sexual Assault is an act described above accomplished by use of (a) force, violence, duress or menace; or (b) inducement of incapacitation or knowingly taking advantage of an incapacitated person.

  • An act is accomplished by force if a person overcomes the other person’s will by use of physical force or induces reasonable fear of immediate bodily injury.
  • Violence means the use of physical force to cause harm or injury.
  • Duress means a direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship, or retribution that is enough to cause a reasonable person of ordinary sensitivity to do or submit to something that he or she would not otherwise do or submit to. When deciding whether the act was accomplished by duress, all the circumstances, including the age of the impacted party and his or her relationship to the responding party, are relevant factors.
  • Menace means a threat, statement, or act showing intent to injure someone.

Consent is an affirmative nonverbal act or verbal statement expressing consent to sexual activity by a person that is informed, freely given and mutually understood. It is the responsibility of person(s) involved in sexual activity to ensure that he/she/they have the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Consent to one act by itself does not constitute consent to another act. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent. Whether one has taken advantage of a position of influence over another may be a factor in determining consent.

Incapacitation means that a person lacks the ability to voluntarily agree to sexual activity because the person is asleep, unconscious, under the influence of an anesthetizing or intoxicating substance such that the person does not have control over his/her body, is otherwise unaware that sexual activity is occurring, or is unable to appreciate the nature and quality of the act. Incapacitation is not the same as legal intoxication. A party who engages in sexual conduct with a person who is incapacitated under circumstances in which a reasonable sober person in similar circumstances would have known the person to be incapacitated is responsible for sexual misconduct. It is not a defense that the Responding Party’s belief in affirmative consent arose from his or her intoxication.

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Stanford Policies

Acts of Prohibited Sexual Conduct are not tolerated at Stanford University. These acts include sexual misconduct, sexual assault, relationship violence, and sexual harassment. You can learn more about what is prohibited and the process when an act of prohibited sexual conduct does occur in the following Stanford policies.

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Your Title IX Rights

Title IX is a federal law that protects students against sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence regardless of the student’s real or perceived sex, gender identity, and/or gender expression.  If you have been subjected to sexual harassment or sexual violence you have an additional set of rights and protections under Title IX. (Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681)

Your school must:

  • Have a clear published procedure for responding to reports of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence.
  • Have a Title IX Coordinator to handle complaints.  The Coordinator’s contact information should be readily available.
  • Inform you of your reporting options, including notifying you of your right to report to the police and supporting you through this process should you choose to do so.
  • Allow you to have an advisor you choose present throughout the process.
  • Allow you to present evidence against the perpetrator(s) and/or bring in witnesses.
  • Give you timely access to any information that will be used in a hearing.
  • Allow you to attend any pre-hearing meetings that would give you and the perpetrator(s) a chance to testify.
  • Provide you with any final decision made as the result of a hearing in writing at the same time as the perpetrator(s), and allow you to appeal that decision.
  • Use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard when determining the outcome of a complaint.  This means the perpetrator(s) should be found responsible if the investigation shows it is more likely than not that the violence occurred.
  • Conclude any investigation within 60 days, excluding appeal, of the report being filed.
  • Support you in obtaining a no-contact order that prevents the perpetrator from contacting or interacting with you, whether directly or indirectly.  Campus safety or police should enforce any no-contact order obtained.
  • Make any reasonable changes to your housing, class schedule, campus job, and/or extracurricular activity schedule to enable you to continue your education in a non-hostile environment.  These accommodations should be made at no cost to you and cannot overburden you or limit your educational opportunities.  The changes can be in place before, during, and after a complaint is filed, investigated, and adjudicated.
  • Provide you with tutoring, counseling, or other remedies at no cost to you if you need then to continue your education.
  • Protect you from retaliation or harassment of any kind due to your report.

Your school may not:

  • Force you to report to the police.
  • Discourage you from continuing to pursue your education. This includes telling you to take a leave of absence or to drop a club or class.
  • Wait to conduct an investigation until the conclusion of an ongoing legal investigation.
  • Retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
  • Make you sign a non-disclosure agreement for the result of the hearing.
  • Encourage or allow mediation to take the place of a formal disciplinary process in cases of sexual violence. 

If you believe your Title IX rights have been or are being violated, you can contact your Title IX Coordinator and/or learn how to file a report on the OCR website.

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