Terms and Definitions

Acts of violence or intimidation: includes sexual assault, intimate partner violence and stalking.

Advisor: a person who accompanies a party during grievance process meetings with university personnel. An advisor may be university-provided, or someone personally selected by the party (friend, parent, attorney, etc.).  An advisor may not represent the party, may not speak on the party's behalf and may not participate in any other role in the process. Each party is required to have an advisor present at a scheduled hearing.

Appeals Officer: a staff and/or faculty member who acts as the school official designated to make the final decision in regard to a request for appeal in the resolution process.

Complainant (formerly Reporting Party): the person or party who is the recipient of unwanted behavior that may be a violation of university policy.

Consent: Consent is clear, and knowing and voluntary words or actions that give permission for specific sexual activity. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent is not the lack of resistance; there is no duty to fight off a sexual aggressor or a requirement of resistance, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity. Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity. Previous relationship or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts. Consent cannot be given by a person who is incapacitated. Consent can be withdrawn once given, as long as that withdrawal is clearly communicated, and once consent is withdrawn, sexual activity must stop. The absence of a verbal “no” does not constitute consent.

Coercion: unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear that they do not want to have sexual interaction, continued pressure or sexual contact beyond that point can be coercive.

Force: physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation, use of weapons, the threat of use of weapons or coercion.

Incapacitation: a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).

Incapacitation can occur mentally, physically, from a developmental disability, by alcohol or other drug use, being asleep and/or blackout. The question of what the respondent should have known is objectively based on what a reasonable person in the place of the respondent should have known about the condition of the complainant and the complainant's capacity to give knowing consent.

Incapacitation covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, unconsciousness, involuntary physical restraint or from the consumption of alcohol or the taking of drugs unbeknownst to the complainant (e.g. rape drugs).

Intimate Partner Violence: violence or abuse between those in an intimate interaction and/or relationship to each other. This can be between married individuals or non-married individuals who have a dating relationship or other intimate relationship. This includes physical assault, psychological abuse and manipulation, forcing a partner to use one type of birth control over another or none at all despite the stated desire of one partner.

a) Florida law defines domestic violence as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” F.S. 741.28

b) Florida law defines dating violence as “violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.” F.S. 784.046

Investigator: a Stetson University staff or faculty member who acts as a neutral fact-finder, who, during the course of the investigation, typically conducts interviews with the complainant, the respondent and each third-party witness, and collects evidence. Investigators receive annual training on how to conduct investigations that promote the safety of the parties involved.

Respondent (formerly Responding Party): the person or party responding to the complaint of unwanted behavior that may be a violation of university policy.

Retaliation: any adverse action taken against a person participating in a protected activity because of their participation in that protected activity. Retaliation against an individual for alleging harassment, supporting a party bringing an allegation or for assisting in providing information relevant to a claim of harassment, or members of the university community whose role includes administering any part of the Title IX process. Instances of retaliation will be treated as another possible instance of harassment or discrimination. Acts of retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator and will be promptly investigated. The university is prepared to take appropriate steps to protect individuals who fear that they may be subjected to retaliation. This includes any form of retaliation against students, student organizations, staff or faculty.

Sexual assault: the commission of an unwanted sexual act, further defined as:

  1. Non-consensual sexual contact: the deliberate touching a person's intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks), or clothing covering any of those area(s) or to cause a person to touch his or her own or another person's intimate parts; with any object, by a person upon another person, that is without consent, is coerced, under threat of use of force and/or by force.
  2. Non-consensual sexual intercourse: any penetration (anal, oral or vaginal) by a penis, tongue, finger or an inanimate object, by any person upon another person, that occurs without consent, is coerced, is under threat of use of force and/or by force.

Sexual assault can occur either forcibly and/or against a person's will, or when a person is incapable of giving consent.

Under federal and state law, sexual assault includes, but is not limited to, rape, forcible sodomy, forcible oral copulation, sexual assault with an object, sexual battery, forcible fondling (e.g. unwanted touching or kissing for purposes of sexual gratification) and threat of sexual assault. See F.S. 784.011 (assault); 784.046(c) (sexual violence); 794.011 (sexual battery)

Sexual Exploitation: taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another person including but not limited to:

  1. Causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person in order to gain a sexual advantage over such other person;
  2. Causing the prostitution of another person;
  3. Recording, photographing or transmitting identifiable images of private sexual activity and/or the intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breasts or buttocks) of another person;
  4. Allowing third parties to observe private sexual acts;
  5. Engaging in voyeurism (such as watching a person undress, shower or engage in sexual activity without the consent of the person being observed);
  6. Knowingly or recklessly exposing another person to a significant risk of sexually transmitted infection, including HIV without informing the other person of the infection.

Sexual Misconduct: a broad range of behavior that includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and sexual violence.

Sexual Violence: includes physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. A number of different acts fall into this category, including but not limited to, acts of non-consensual sexual contact and non-consensual sexual intercourse such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual coercion, forcible sodomy, forcible oral copulation, sexual assault with an object, forcible fondling and threat of sexual assault. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment included under the protections of Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972.

Stalking: a course of conduct directed at a specific person on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class, that is unwelcome and that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their, or others' safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress. A course of conduct includes a series of acts over any period of time which is repetitive and menacing; pursuing, following, harassing and/or interfering with the peace and/or safety of another. This can include cyberstalking, or other behavior or a course of conduct that causes substantial emotional distress to the person the conduct is directed at.

Stalking includes any credible threat to the victim that causes reasonable fear for the safety of the victim, the victim's family members or others closely associated with the victim, regardless of whether the perpetrator actually intends to go through with the threats.

Florida law defines stalking as “willfully, maliciously and repeatedly following, harassing or cyberstalking another person. For purposes of clarity, “harass” means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.” F.S. 784.048

University-provided Advisor: a Stetson University staff or faculty member who is trained on the grievance process and serves a party as a process/resources guide. An advisor may not represent the party, may not speak on the party's behalf and may not participate in any other role in the process. Each party is required to have an advisor present at a scheduled hearing.  

Witness: a person or party who provides information, knowledge or observations about behavior between the complainant and the respondent.