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

Note: All school policies are from the 2018-2019 academic year. Policies for 2019-2020 will be updated soon.

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)

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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