Interim Sexual Misconduct and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and Procedures

Gallaudet University is committed to creating and maintaining a living and learning environment free from all forms of harassment, exploitation, intimidation, and/or violence, including sex discrimination, gender-based misconduct, stalking, and all forms of sexual misconduct. All members of the University community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that demonstrates respect for the rights of others. The University Sexual Misconduct and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and Procedures intend to define community expectations, to reaffirm these principles, and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated.  

Creating a safe and non-discriminatory educational environment is the responsibility of all members of the University community.  The University is committed to addressing sexual misconduct, gender-based misconduct, stalking, and other forms of gender based discrimination, fostering an environment that promotes prompt reporting of all types of sexual misconduct, gender-based misconduct, or stalking, and ensuring the fair resolution of all complaints.  Every member of the University community has a responsibility to become familiar with this policy and procedures.

As a recipient of Federal funds, the University is required to comply with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. Sexual misconduct, as defined in this policy, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX and will not be tolerated at Gallaudet.  Such discrimination includes, but is not limited to: sexual harassment, sexual misconduct (including sexual assault), sex or gender-based bullying, hazing, stalking, and gender-based misconduct (including domestic violence and dating violence).  Resolution of complaints of such discrimination is intended to bring an end to harassing or discriminatory conduct, prevent its recurrence and remedy the effects on the victim and the community.  

Gallaudet takes the necessary steps to reduce the need for reactive intervention by providing preventive and risk education and training and by preparing and disseminating educational print material, videos, workshops, training seminars and academic course offerings related to sexual misconduct and gender-based misconduct. Gallaudet encourages reporting of incidents and also attempts to eliminate pressure that might lead students to suppress a sexual misconduct, gender-based misconduct, or stalking report or to minimize its seriousness by providing a process whereby the parties involved are treated with dignity; privacy and confidentiality are maintained to the fullest extent possible; allegations of sexual misconduct and gender-based misconduct, are investigated promptly and thoroughly; and that students are provided with full support and assistance.

Expectations with Respect to Sexual Misconduct

In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be effective consent, which is clear, knowingly, and voluntary consent, prior to and during sexual activity.  Consent is sexual permission. Effective consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is not as clear as talking about what a person wants sexually and what a person doesn't want.  Silence, without actions demonstrating permission, cannot be assumed to show effective consent, and consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as effective consent to any other form of sexual activity.

One should be aware of the difference between flirting/seduction and coercion.  Coercion happens when someone is unreasonably pressured for sexual activity.  Coercing someone into sexual activity violates the sexual misconduct policy in the same way as forcing someone into sex.

The Impact of Alcohol or Other Drugs

The use of alcohol or other drugs can have unintended consequences.  Alcohol or other drugs complicate the situation further and can place the capacity to consent into question when compared with sober sexual activity. For example, one who is physically incapacitated as a result of alcohol or drug consumption (voluntary or involuntary), or who is unconscious or otherwise physically helpless, is incapable of giving consent.   The University considers sexual contact while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs to be risky behavior.  Alcohol and drugs impair a person's decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences, and ability to make informed judgments.   This policy covers incapacity from the taking of rape drugs.  Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketamine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student is a violation of this policy.  More information on these drugs can be found at

Individuals who consent to any form of sexual activity must be able to understand what they are doing.  "No" always means "No", but "Yes" may not always mean "Yes". Anything but effective consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a "No".  Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this policy.

Education and Prevention Programs

Gallaudet is committed to the prevention of sexual misconduct and gender-based misconduct through educational and awareness programs. Gallaudet takes the necessary steps to reduce the need for reactive intervention by providing preventive and risk education and training and by preparing and disseminating educational print material, videos, workshops, training seminars and academic course offerings related to sexual misconduct and gender-based misconduct through the year. Prevention programs include an overview of the Universities' policies and procedures, relevant definitions, including prohibited conduct, effective consent, the impact of alcohol and illegal drug use, safe and positive options for bystander intervention (including "Green Dot" training, and information about risk reduction. Incoming first year students are required to take an online course, "Haven" that addresses sexual misconduct, and receive primary prevention and awareness programming as part of their orientation. All educational programs include a review of resources and reporting options available for students.  

Please click on the links below for the Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy, procedures, and resources.

  1. Interim Sexual Misconduct and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy
  2. Reporting Sexual Misconduct and Gender-Based Misconduct
  3. Procedures for Handling Complaints Involving Students
  4. Sexual Violence - Risk Reduction Tips
  5. Students Who May be Victims of Sexual Misconduct
  6. On- and Off-Campus Resources
  7. Frequently Asked Questions

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