Policy Definitions and General Terms

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.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: 

  1. Quid Pro Quo: 
    1. an employee of Naropa University,  
    2. conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of Naropa University, 
    3. on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; and/or
  2. Sexual Harassment: 
    1. unwelcome conduct,  
    2. determined by a reasonable person, 
    3. to be so severe, and 
    4. pervasive, and, 
    5. objectively offensive,  
    6. that it effectively denies a person equal access to Naropa University’s education program or activity.6

  3. Sexual assault, defined as: 
    1. Sex Offenses, Forcible: 
      1. Any sexual act directed against another person,  
      2. without the consent of the Complainant,  
      3. including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent. 
    2. Forcible Rape: 
      1. Penetration,  
      2. no matter how slight,  
      3. of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or 
      4. oral penetration by a sex organ of another person,  
      5. without the consent of the Complainant. 
    3. Forcible Sodomy: 
      1. Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person,  
      2. forcibly, 
      3. and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually), or  
      4. not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age7 or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.  
    4. Sexual Assault with an Object: 
      1. The use of an object or instrument to penetrate,  
      2. however slightly,  
      3. the genital or anal opening of the body of another person,  
      4. forcibly,  
      5. and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually),  
      6. or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.  
    5. Forcible Fondling: 
      1. The touching of the private body parts of another person (buttocks, groin, breasts),  
      2. for the purpose of sexual gratification,  
      3. forcibly,  
      4. and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually),  
      5. or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.  
    6. Sex Offenses, Non-forcible: 
      1. Incest: 
        1. Non-forcible sexual intercourse,  
        2. between persons who are related to each other,  
        3. within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by Colorado law.  
      2. Statutory Rape: 
        1. Non-forcible sexual intercourse, 
        2. with a person who is under the statutory age of consent of 17 with the following age exceptions under Colorado law: 
          1. Children under 15 may legally consent to sex with people less than 4 years older 
          2. Children aged 15 or 16 may legally consent to sex with people less than 10 years older
  4. Dating Violence, defined as:
    1. violence,
    2. on the basis of sex,
    3. committed by a person,
    4. who is in or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant.  
      1. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the Complainant’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 purposes of this definition—
      2. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. 
      3. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
  5. Domestic Violence, defined as: 
    1. violence, 
    2. on the basis of sex, 
    3. committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant, 
    4. by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common, or 
    5. by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, or 
    6. by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of Colorado or 
    7. by any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Colorado.*To categorize an incident as Domestic Violence, the relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant must be more than just two people living together as roommates. The people cohabitating must be current or former spouses or have an intimate relationship.
  6. Stalking, defined as: 
    1. engaging in a course of conduct, 
    2. on the basis of sex, 
    3. directed at a specific person, that  
      1. would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety, or  
      2. the safety of others; or 
      3. Suffer substantial emotional distress.

For the purposes of this definition— 

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

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.

Consent is:  

  • knowing, and 
  • voluntary, and 
  • clear permission  
  • by word or action  
  • to engage in sexual activity. 

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.

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