Glossary of Terms


The person alleging, and who experienced, behavior alleged to constitute discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, or any other forms of misconduct defined in this policy.


Clear, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity. Consent cannot be inferred from the absence of a “no”; a clear “yes,” verbal or otherwise, is necessary. Although consent does not need to be verbal, verbal communication is the most reliable form of asking for and gauging consent, thus, individuals are urged to seek consent in verbal form. Talking with sexual partners about desires and limits may seem awkward, but serves as the basis for positive sexual experiences shaped by mutual willingness and respect. Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or some other condition. Consent cannot be obtained by threat, coercion, or force. Agreement given under such conditions does not constitute consent. Consent must be clear and unambiguous for each participant throughout any sexual encounter. Consent to some sexual acts does not imply consent to others, nor does past consent to a given act imply ongoing or future consent. Consent can be revoked at any time. For all of these reasons, sexual partners must evaluate consent in an ongoing fashion and should communicate clearly with each other throughout any sexual encounter.

Dating Violence:

Dating violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Whether there was such a relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.


Treating a person or group of people different or less favorably because of – or because of one’s perception of – their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, national origin, genetics, or any other characteristic protected by law (together, “protected characteristics”).  This includes any decision, act, or failure to act that adversely affects a person or group, when that decision, act, or failure to act is based on a protected characteristic or a perception that the person or group has a protected characteristic.

Discriminatory Harassment:

Any verbal, physical, written or symbolic behavior that is 1) directed at an individual or group and/or their property, 2) is based on that individual’s or group’s membership (or perceived membership) in a particular demographic group, including race, color, religion, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin or ethnicity, mental or physical disability, or sexual orientation, and 3) interferes with a reasonable person’s academic or work performance, creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive situation or environment for a person or that subjects a person to unwanted and unsolicited attention. Such behaviors include, but are not limited to, the use of slurs, epithets, name-calling, hate-speech, gestures, demeaning jokes, derogatory stereotypes, vandalism, bullying, or conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful or humiliating or cause a person to feel unsafe.

Domestic Violence:

Pennsylvania law defines domestic violence as knowingly, intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury of any kind, causing fear of bodily injury of any kind, assault (sexual or not sexual), rape, sexually abusing minor children, or knowingly engaging in repetitive conduct toward a certain person (i.e. stalking) that puts them in fear of bodily injury. These acts can take place between family or household members, current or former spouses, sexual partners or those who share biological parenthood in order to qualify as domestic violence or abuse.


Use of physical violence or physical imposition, as well as, the use of threat, intimidation, or coercion to overcome a person’s free will or resistance. Threat, intimidation and coercion include:

  1. Actual or implied declarations to inflict physical or psychological harm, to cause damages or to commit other hostile actions to obtain sexual activity from an unwilling participant
  2. Applying unreasonable pressure to obtain sexual activity from and unwilling participant. Unreasonable pressure will be assessed by factors such as the frequency, intensity, degree of isolation and/or duration of the pressure and must include a real or perceived attack on safety, character, values or morals.


Conduct that is severe or pervasive enough to create a residence, classroom, work, or other campus environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, endangering, or abusive. Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with a person’s residence or on-campus environment, or work or school performance, regardless of medium (e.g., in person, telephone, text message, electronic mail, social media or any other method).


Inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent because someone is asleep, mentally and/or physically helpless, unconscious, or unaware due to drug or alcohol consumption (voluntarily or involuntarily), or for some other reason. Incapacitation means a person does not have the ability to give consent. Participating in sexual activity with whom the party knows or should reasonably know is incapacitated constitutes a violation of this policy.

Intimate Partner Violence:

Any intentional act, or threat, of physical, sexual, or psychological violence or abuse, including acts of intimidation and coercion, by a current or former partner in an intimate relationship upon the other partner. Intimate Partner Violence may include a pattern of abusive behavior by one partner to consistently maintain power and control over the other partner. This type of violence can occur regardless of the sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation of the other person.

The existence of an intimate relationship will be evaluated considering the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Dating and domestic violence are forms of Intimate Partner Violence and all are prohibited by this policy.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse:

Any actual or attempted sexual intercourse, however slight, with any body part or object by a person upon a person:

  • Without Consent
  • When the person is incapacitated, or
  • By Force

Intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, finger, tongue or object, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact), no matter how slight.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact:

Any actual or attempted intentional sexual touching, however slight, with a body part or object, by a person upon a person:

  • Without Consent
  • When the person is incapacitated, or
  • By Force

Sexual contact includes contact, directly or over clothing, with genitals, groin, breasts, or buttocks; or touching another person with any of these body parts, or making another person touch themselves, or another person with or on any of these body parts, or any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.


The person whose conduct is alleged to constitute discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, or other forms of misconduct described in this policy.

Responsible Employee:

A “responsible employee” for purposes of this policy includes all Allegheny College employees except the professional counselors in the College Counseling and Personal Development Center, professional staff in the Winslow Health Center, and the College Chaplain or any other individual employed by the College with a primary role as clergy. Responsible employees must promptly report incidents of discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment or other types of misconduct prohibited by this policy to the Title IX Coordinator or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators.


Harassing, intimidating or taking adverse action(s) against a person because they in good faith:

  1. Made a report under this Policy
  2. Participated in/cooperated with an investigation of a complaint under this Policy including but not limited to the complainant, respondent, witnesses, or advisors
  3. Opposed conduct or practices prohibited by this Policy

Retaliation includes but is not limited to ostracizing the person, pressuring the person to drop or not support the complaint or to provide false or misleading information, or engaging in conduct that may reasonably be perceived to affect adversely that person’s educational, living, or work environment, threatening, intimidating, or coercing the person, or otherwise harassing or discriminating against any person for exercising their rights or responsibilities under this policy. Retaliation under this policy may be found whether or not the complaint is ultimately found to have merit.

Sexual Assault:

Sexual assault is also a form of sexual harassment, and it includes any type of sexual activity perpetrated against a person’s will, where that person does not give clear and voluntary consent or where the person is incapable of giving consent due to drug or alcohol use or due to intellectual or other disabilities.

Sexual Exploitation:

Sexual Exploitation occurs when one person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another. Examples include but are not limited to: invasion of sexual privacy; recording or attempting to record nude, partial nude or sexual media without the consent of the person or person depicted in the media; streaming, sharing or distributing nude, partial nude or sexual media without the consent of the person depicted in the media; non-consensual sexual voyeurism; inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity; administering sexual assault facilitating drugs including, but not limited to, alcohol, sleeping pills, sedatives, tranquilizers, anesthetics, depressants, and psychotropics without a person’s knowledge and permission; going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as knowingly allowing another to surreptitiously watch otherwise consensual sexual activity); exposing one’s genitals inn non-consensual circumstance; inducing another to expose their genitals; prostituting another person; and knowingly transmitting or exposing another person to a sexually transmitted infection (STI) without the knowledge of the person.

Sexual Harassment:

Any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment may be found in a single episode as well as in persistent behavior. Sexual harassment also includes unwelcome sexual conduct when:

  1. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s academic and/or work performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive living, learning or working environment
  2. Submission to such conduct is made (explicitly or implicitly) a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; or submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual

Sexual Violence:

Refers to sexual activity when consent is not obtained or not given freely. Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment and includes sexual assault, non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation, and interpersonal violence.


A course of conduct, or pattern of behavior, directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others; or to suffer substantial emotional distress. Cyber-stalking, or the repeated use of electronic communications to harass or cause fear, is also included in this definition.