Sexual 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 sexual discrimination and 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 Policy and applicable 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 environment is the responsibility of all members of the University community. The University is committed to addressing sexual misconduct and other forms of gender based discrimination, fostering an environment that promotes prompt reporting of all types of sexual misconduct and ensuring the fair resolution of sexual misconduct complaints. Every member of the University community has a responsibility to become familiar with this sexual misconduct 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 violence, sex or gender-based bullying, hazing, stalking, and power based personal violence (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. Gallaudet also attempts to eliminate pressure that might lead students to suppress a sexual misconduct charge 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 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. 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 seduction and coercion. Coercion happens when someone is unreasonably pressurized for sexual activity. Coercing someone into sexual activity violates the sexual misconduct policy.

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 and/or drug consumption (voluntary or involuntary), or who is unconscious, unaware, 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 other drugs impair a person's decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences, and ability to make informed judgments.

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".

Please click on the links below for the Sexual Misconduct Policy, procedures, and resources.

  1. Sexual Misconduct Policy
  2. Reporting Sexual Misconduct
  3. Sexual Misconduct Policy Grievance Process
  4. Sexual Misconduct Hearing Procedures
  5. What You Need to Know About Sexual Misconduct
  6. On- and Off-Campus Resources
UPDATED AS OF AUGUST 14, 2014
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