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Relevant Definitions

The following definitions are those that are relevant to the Columbia College Sexual Misconduct Policy and Complaint Resolution Procedures.

Sexual misconduct

"Sexual misconduct" is an umbrella term that collectively refers to sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. This term will be used throughout this policy and the complaint resolution procedures when collectively referring to these types of conduct.

Sex discrimination

Sex discrimination occurs when persons are excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, any College program or activity because of their sex, gender identity, or gender expression. Sex discrimination can include adverse treatment based on one's sex, gender identity, or gender expression, as well as the other prohibited conduct outlined in this section.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature and includes sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical, visual, or digital conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made or threatened to be made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual's employment or education;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used or threatened to be used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's academic or professional performance or creating what a reasonable person would perceive as an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, education, or living environment.

Examples of conduct which may constitute SEXUAL HARASSMENT include, but are not limited to:

  • Pressure for a dating, romantic, or intimate relationship;
  • Unwelcome touching, kissing, hugging, rubbing, or massaging;
  • Pressure for sexual activity;
  • Unnecessary references to parts of the body;
  • Sexual innuendos, jokes, humor, or gestures;
  • Displaying sexual graffiti, pictures, videos, or posters;
  • Using sexually explicit profanity;
  • Asking about, or telling about, sexual fantasies, sexual preferences, or sexual activities;
  • Social media use that violates this policy;
  • Leering or staring at someone in a sexual way, such as staring at a person's breasts or groin area;
  • Sending sexually explicit digital messages;
  • Commenting on a person's dress in a sexual manner;
  • Giving unwelcome personal gifts such as flowers, chocolates, or lingerie that suggest the desire for a romantic relationship;
  • Commenting on a person's body, gender, sexual relationships, or sexual activities; or
  • Sexual violence (as defined below).

Consent

Consent is defined as permission to act. Lack of consent is a critical factor in determining whether sexual violence has occurred. This must be an unambiguous and voluntary agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity during a sexual encounter. Although consent can be given by words or actions, those words or actions must be clear and mutually understood. Consent should meet all of the following standards:

  • Active, not passive.
  • Given freely.
    • If coercion, intimidation, threats, and/or physical force are used, there is no consent; a person’s lack of verbal resistance or submission resulting from the use or threat of force does not constitute consent.
    • Dressing in a certain manner does not constitute consent.
    • Being in a romantic or intimate relationship with someone does not imply consent to any form of sexual activity.
    • Effective consent may not exist when there is a disparity in power between the parties (e.g., faculty/student, supervisor/employee).
  • Provided knowingly.
    • If a person who is known to be (or based on circumstances should reasonably be known to be) mentally or physically incapacitated to the point that they are unable to make rational, reasonable decisions due to a lack of capacity to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of a sexual interaction, there is not consent.
    • If a person is asleep or unconscious, there is no consent.
    • A person who is below the minimum age of consent in the applicable jurisdiction (within the state of Missouri, age of consent is 17), cannot provide consent to sexual activity.
  • Specific.
    • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
    • Consent to past sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
    • Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not constitute consent to engage in sexual activity with another.
    • Consent can be withdrawn at any time. A person who initially consents to sexual activity is deemed not to have consented to any sexual activity that occurs after they have withdrawn consent.

The legal definition of consent may differ depending on the jurisdiction or location where the sexual activity occurs. In Missouri, consent or lack of consent may be express or implied. Furthermore, in Missouri, assent does not constitute consent if:

  • It is given by a person who lacks the mental capacity to authorize the conduct charged to constitute the offense and such mental incapacity is manifest or known to the actor; or
  • It is given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease or defect, intoxication, a drug-induced state, or any other reason is manifestly unable or known by the actor to be unable to make a reasonable judgment as to the nature or harmfulness of the conduct charged to constitute the offense; or
  • It is induced by force, duress or deception.

The legal definitions of consent in other jurisdictions in which Columbia College maintains a physical location may be found in their respective Annual Security Report.

Sexual violence

Sexual violence is a particularly severe form of prohibited sexual harassment. Sexual violence includes physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity, because they are below the minimum age of consent in the applicable jurisdiction (within the state of Missouri, age of consent is 17), or because of their incapacitation due to the use of drugs and/or alcohol. Other types of conduct may also constitute sexual violence.

Examples of conduct which may constitute SEXUAL VIOLENCE include, but are not limited to:

  • Rape or sexual assault: sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal) by an individual upon another individual without consent;
  • The use of force or coercion to effect sexual intercourse or some other form of sexual contact with a person who has not given consent;
  • Unwilling sexual penetration (anal, oral, or vaginal) or other sexual touching with any object or body part that is committed by force, threat, intimidation, or otherwise without consent, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity;
  • Having sexual intercourse with a person who is unconscious because of drug or alcohol use;
  • Hazing that involves penetration of a person's vagina or anus with an object;
  • Statutory rape, which is sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent;
  • Sexual exploitation.

The legal definition of sexual assault and/or rape may differ depending on the jurisdiction or location where they sexual activity occurs.

The legal definitions of sexual assault and/or rape in jurisdictions in which Columbia College maintains a physical location may be found in their respective Annual Security Report.

Dating violence

Dating violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant.

  • The existence of such a relationship is determined based upon the reporting party's statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  • For the purpose of this definition, dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
  • Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

 The legal definitions of dating violence may differ depending on the jurisdiction or location where the dating violence occurs. In Missouri, dating violence is considered domestic violence under Missouri Revised Statues due to the definition of "family" or "household member" (Mo. Rev. Stat. 455.010).

The legal definitions of dating violence in jurisdictions in which Columbia College maintains a physical location may be found in their respective Annual Security Report.

Domestic violence

Domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by any of the following:

  • A current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
  • A person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
  • A person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
  • A person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred, or
  • Any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.

 

The legal definition of domestic violence may differ depending on the jurisdiction or location where the domestic violence occurs.

The legal definitions of domestic violence in jurisdictions in which Columbia College maintains a physical location may be found in their respective Annual Security Report.

Stalking

Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct (to include conduct that occurs via social media, i.e. "cyberstalking") directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:

  • Fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
  • Suffer substantial emotional distress.

For the purposes of this definition:

  • Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by an action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property.
  • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
  • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.

The legal definition of stalking may differ depending on the jurisdiction or location where the activity occurs.

The legal definitions of stalking in jurisdictions in which Columbia College maintains a physical location my be found in their respective Annual Security Report.


The crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking can also constitute sexual misconduct when motivated by a person's sex or gender. These types of conduct, no matter the motivation behind them, are a violation of this policy and will be addressed pursuant to the Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Complaint Resolution Procedures.

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