Resources and Information
Terminology for Understanding the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy
Advisor: Both the Reporting Individual and Responding Student may elect to be accompanied by an advisor of their choosing to any meetings, conferences, interviews, or hearings. The advisor's role is limited to observing and consulting with, and providing support to, the Reporting Individual or Responding Individual; an advisor may not speak on behalf of the Reporting Individual or Responding Student.
Attempted Act: Attempts to commit sexual misconduct are also prohibited under this policy, as is aiding the commission of sexual misconduct as an accomplice.
Coercion: Coercion is the application of an unreasonable amount of pressure on someone to the point that they say yes even though they would not have said yes if they had not endured a long period of convincing. Coercion is evaluated based on the intensity, frequency, and duration of the comments or actions. It exists where a sexual initiator engages in emotional manipulation in order to persuade someone to do something sexual they do not want to do.
Confidentiality: With respect to any report of sexual and gender-based misconduct or any complaint of sexual and gender-based misconduct, Skidmore College will endeavor to maintain the confidentiality of the matter and all individuals involved to the extent permitted by law. Skidmore College will balance the needs of individuals involved with its obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the community at large. In all cases, Skidmore College will respect the privacy and dignity of all individuals involved.
Dating Violence: Dating violence means violence by a person who has been in romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Whether there was such relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.
Domestic Violence: Domestic violence includes asserted violent misdemeanor and felony offenses committed by the victim’s current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, person similarly situated under domestic or family violence law, or anyone else protected under family violation law.
Effective Consent: Effective Consent is the basis of Skidmore’s Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct policy because effective consent maintains the value that all persons have the right to feel respected, acknowledged, and safe during sexual activity.
- Effective Consent is informed, freely and actively given, and is based on rational and reasonable judgment. It requires clear communication between all persons involved in the sexual encounter.
- Consent can be communicated verbally or by action(s). In whatever way consent is communicated, it must be mutually understandable.
- Consent is mutually understandable when a reasonable person would consider the words and/or actions that you and your partner(s) have expressed demonstrate a desire to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way, with one another.
- In the absence of mutually understandable words or actions, the initiators of sexual contact are responsible for making sure they have obtained effective consent from their partner(s). The initiators must fully understand what their partner(s) wants and does not want sexually.
- Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to another form of sexual activity. Each new sexual act requires new consent. Effective consent has time boundaries.
- Consent at one time does not imply consent at any other time.
- The existence of a dating/romantic relationship between the persons involved or the fact of a previous sexual relationship does not automatically establish effective consent for future sexual activity.
- Consent is not the absence of resistance.
- Silence is an inactive behavior, and effective consent is an active behavior. Therefore, silence alone (absent a non‐verbal action clearly demonstrating consent) is considered ineffective consent. Silent and inactive behavior may indicate that something is wrong and the potential for sexual misconduct exists. If a partner is inactive (for example, silent or physically still) sexual activity must stop until both partners have communicated clearly with each other about what, if any, sexual activity is mutually desired.
- Effective Consent can never be given by minors (under the age of 17 in New York state), mentally disabled individuals, or by incapacitated persons. A person may be incapacitated as a result of alcohol or other drug use, sleep, or illness. A person who is unconscious, unaware, or otherwise physically helpless cannot give effective consent to sexual activity.
- Effective consent cannot result from force, or threat of force, coercion, fraud, intimidation, or incapacitation. The use of force to obtain sexual access or to induce consent violates this policy whether the force is physical in nature, violent, or involving threats, intimidation or coercion.
- Physical force includes but is not limited to: hitting, kicking and restraining. Physical force means someone is acting on you physically and exerting control over you through violence.
- Intimidation is an implied threat. It is not as clear or explicit as an overt threat.
- Coercion is the application of an unreasonable amount of pressure on someone to the
point that they say yes even though they would not have said yes if they had not endured
a long period of convincing.
Coercion is evaluated based on the intensity, frequency, and duration of the comments or actions. It exists where a sexual initiator engages in emotional manipulation in order to persuade someone to do something sexual they do not want to do.
- Threatening someone to obtain consent for a sexual act is a violation of this policy. Threats exist where a reasonable person would have been compelled by the words or actions of another to give permission to sexual activity to which they otherwise would.
Gender-Based Misconduct: Gender-based misconduct includes any misconduct where the victim is targeted because of sex, gender identity, or gender expression. Sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence are all forms of gender-based misconduct.
Reporting Individual: The Reporting Individual is usually an individual filing a complaint of a violation of Skidmore College Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy. In some cases (such as, e.g., cases in which a person involved in an incident of alleged sexual and gender-based misconduct does not wish to participate in the process but the College decides that the alleged misconduct needs to be investigated), Skidmore College may serve as the Reporting Individual. In these cases, the College may extend the full rights of the Reporting Individual as defined in this policy to affected parties as deemed appropriate by Title IX Deputy Coordinator.
Responding Student: The Responding Student is the student alleged to have violated the Skidmore College Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy.
Retaliation: Retaliation against the individual who initiates a sexual and gender-based misconduct complaint, participates in an investigation, or pursues legal action, is prohibited. Independent action may be taken against anyone engaging in retaliation.
Sexual Assault: Sexual assault occurs when a person engages in a sexual act with another person and compels that person to participate in a sexual act without effective consent; by threat or coercion; by placing the other person in fear that any person will suffer imminent bodily injury; by impairing substantially the ability of another person to appraise or control conduct by administering or providing drugs or intoxicants without the knowledge or against the will of the other person; or when a person is under the age of 17. Sexual assault can be committed by any person against any other person, regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or past or current relationship status. Sexual assault may occur with or without physical resistance or violence.
Sexual Exploitation: Occurs when a student takes non‐consensual, unfair, or abusive advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, even though that behavior does not constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Non‐consensual video or audio taping of sexual activity;
- Stalking with a sexual component. Stalking may take many forms, including persistent calling, texting, or posting on a social networking site as well as physical stalking. When the content of the messages or the nature of the physical stalking is of a sexual nature sexual misconduct has occurred;
- Voyeurism is a form of sexual exploitation in which one individual engages in secretive observation of another for personal sexual pleasure or engages in non‐consensual video or audio taping of sexual acts. Although the source for the secretive viewing or taping may be unaware of the observation, this behavior is a form of sexual misconduct and violates the integrity of the unaware student.
Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct or communication is a term or condition of education benefits, academic evaluations or opportunities;
- Submission to such conduct or communication has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education;
- Such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, AND objectively offensive as to have the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment or negatively affects a student’s educational opportunities.
Sexual harassment also includes acts of verbal, non-verbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility based on gender or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature. Allegations against students (including full-time students who are employees) will be resolved according to the procedures in this policy.
Sexual Misconduct: Sexual misconduct violates the rights of others, and demonstrates flagrant disregard for the principles of this community. Skidmore seeks to prevent all forms of sexual misconduct, and desires to establish and maintain a safe and healthy environment for all members of the community through sexual misconduct prevention, education, support, and a fair adjudication process. Use of alcohol or other drugs does not minimize or excuse a person’s responsibility for conduct that violates this policy. Sexual misconduct may include sexual assault, inappropriate sexual conduct, or both. The definitions below are intended to provide clarity, and do not suggest that one behavior is more severe or violating than the other.
Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Advisor: The Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct (SGBM) Advisor is a Skidmore staff or faculty member appointed by the Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs who is trained to support either the Reporting Individual or the Responding Student. The SGBM Advisor may assist a student throughout the campus conduct process, including being present at the conduct hearing, but may not speak at the conduct hearing.
Sexual Misconduct by Incapacity: It is a violation of this policy if the initiator knows or reasonably should know, the other party/parties to be incapacitated by alcohol, drugs, sleep, or illness. An incapacitated person is not able to make rational, reasonable judgments and therefore is incapable of giving effective consent. Someone is incapacitated when they cannot understand who, what, when, where, why, or how, with respect to the sexual interaction.
Sexual Penetration: Any sexual penetration (anal, oral or vaginal), however slight, with any object or sexual intercourse, without effective consent. Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger and oral copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital or mouth contact.
Sexual Touching, Disrobing and/or Exposure: Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object without effective consent. Sexual touching includes any bodily contact with the breasts, groin, genitals, mouth or other bodily orifice of another or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner. Any disrobing of another or exposure to another by another without effective consent.
Stalking: Stalking means a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their or others’ safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Survivor: Survivor, used throughout this site, requires elaboration in two areas. First, the word survivor, rather than victim, honors the strength and courage of the women and men who survive sexual, physical, and emotional violence. Survival is a physical and emotional process that is experienced differently by each individual, and progresses at an individual pace. The word survivor on this site does not connote or imply any legal status, either of an individual or of the encounter s/he experienced. Regardless of legal definitions of rape or sexual assault, or of outcomes of formal internal or external judicial processes, survivor on this site refers to anyone who has suffered a distressing sexual encounter.
Victim Advocate: As part of their positions at Skidmore College, Victim Advocates work to support and assist victims of sexual and gender-based misconduct. Students who have experienced sexual and gender-based misconduct can seek help from Victim Advocates knowing that those staff members will not report identifying details about the assault. This status is not legally protected in the same way that disclosures to mental health or health care providers or college chaplains are.