For the purpose of the Equal Opportunity, Anti-Harassment and Nondiscrimination Policy and Procedures, the following definitions* apply:
a. Discriminatory Harassment
Discriminatory harassment constitutes a form of discrimination that is prohibited by Naropa University policy. Discriminatory harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct by any member or group of the community on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a class protected by policy or law.
Naropa University does not tolerate discriminatory harassment of any employee, student, visitor, or guest. Naropa University will act to remedy all forms of harassment when reported, whether or not the harassment rises to the level of creating a “hostile environment.”
A hostile environment is one that unreasonably interferes with, limits, or effectively denies an individual’s educational or employment access, benefits, or opportunities.5 This discriminatory effect results from harassing verbal, written, graphic, or physical conduct that is severe or pervasive and objectively offensive.
When discriminatory harassment rises to the level of creating a hostile environment, Naropa University may also impose sanctions on the Respondent through application of the appropriate grievance process below.
Naropa University reserves the right to address offensive conduct and/or harassment that 1) does not rise to the level of creating a hostile environment, or 2) that is of a generic nature and not based on a protected status. Addressing such conduct will not result in the imposition of discipline under this policy, but may be addressed through the appropriate conduct policy, respectful conversation, remedial actions, education, effective Alternate Resolution, and/or other informal resolution mechanisms.
For assistance with Alternate Resolution and other informal resolution techniques and approaches, employees should contact the Director of Human Resources, and students should contact the Dean of Students.
b. Sexual Harassment
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the State of Colorado regard Sexual Harassment, a specific form of discriminatory harassment, as an unlawful discriminatory practice.
Naropa University has adopted the following definition of Sexual Harassment in order to address the unique environment of an academic community, which consists not only of employer and employees, but of students as well.
Acts of sexual harassment may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity of those involved.
Sexual Harassment, as an umbrella category, includes the offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and is defined as:
Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
For the purposes of this definition—
Please see the Student and Employee Handbooks for the Dual Relationship Policy as
well as the expanded Graduate School of Counseling Psychology’s Dual Relationship
Policy found on My.Naropa.
Naropa University reserves the right to impose any level of sanction, ranging from a reprimand up to and including suspension or expulsion/termination, for any offense under this policy.
c. Force, Coercion, Consent, and Incapacitation8
As used in the offenses above, the following definitions and understandings apply:
Force: Force is the use of physical violence and/or physical imposition to gain sexual access.
Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that is
intended to overcome resistance or produce consent (e.g., “Have sex with me or I’ll
hit you,” “Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”).
Sexual activity that is forced is, by definition, non-consensual, but non-consensual
sexual activity is not necessarily forced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone
is not consent. Consent is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. While resistance
is not required or necessary, it is a clear demonstration of non-consent.
Coercion: Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive conduct differs from seductive conduct based
on factors such as the type and/or extent of the pressure used to obtain consent.
When someone makes clear that they do not want to engage in certain sexual activity,
that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual
interaction, continued pressure beyond that point may be coercive.
Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the
responsibility of each party to determine that the other has consented before engaging
in the activity.
If consent is not clearly provided prior to engaging in the activity, consent may
be ratified by word or action at some point during the interaction or thereafter,
but clear communication from the outset is strongly encouraged.
For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that
the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Reasonable reciprocation
can be implied. For example, if someone kisses you, you can kiss them back (if you
want to) without the need to explicitly obtain their consent to being kissed back.
Consent can also be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably
and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity should cease
within a reasonable time.
Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to
be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous
intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent.
Proof of consent or non-consent is not a burden placed on either party involved in
an incident. Instead, the burden remains on Naropa University to determine whether
its policy has been violated. The existence of consent is based on the totality of
the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same
or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred
and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced.
Consent in relationships must also be considered in context. When parties consent
to BDSM9 or other forms of kink, non-consent may be shown by the use of a safe word. Resistance,
force, violence, or even saying “no” may be part of the kink and thus consensual,
so Naropa University’s evaluation of communication in kink situations should be guided
by reasonableness, rather than strict adherence to policy that assumes non-kink relationships
as a default.