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Sexual Violence Prevention - Consent

Understanding Consent

As stated in the Equal Opportunity, Harassment (Sexual Misconduct), and Nondiscrimination Policy and Procedures:
"Consent is:

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

-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-Consent can also be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity should cease within a reasonable time.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.
-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."

Consent has NOT been obtained if the person:

  • Is incapacitated 
  • Is forced or pressured
  • Is under the age of 14
  • Changes his/her/their mind and wants to stop engaging in sexual activity
  • Feels threatened or coerced
  • Has said “no” or “I‘m not sure” or “I don’t know”
  • Uses non-verbal cues such as a head nod, failure to resist, silence, or any hint of uncertainty


  • Previous consensual sexual activity with you or another does not grant future consent.
  • Good communication is the key to healthy relationships. Best practice is for both parties to receive verbal affirmative consent, "yes", each and every time and for each and every activity.