Definitions

Terminology
  • The term complainant refers to an individual who is reported to have experienced prohibited conduct, regardless of whether the individual makes a report or seeks disciplinary action.
  • The term respondent refers to an individual who has been accused of prohibited conduct.
  • The term third party refers to an individual who is not a University student, faculty member, or staff member (e.g., vendors, alumni/ae, or visitors).
  • The term witness refers to an individual who may have information relevant to a report of prohibited conduct. A witness may be a student, an employee, or a third party.
Prohibited Conduct
Sexual Assault

    Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration: Any act of vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, by a person’s penis, finger, other body part, or an object, or oral-genital contact, without consent.

    Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: Any intentional touching of a person’s breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, or other intimate parts without consent. Touching may be over or under clothing and may include the respondent touching the complainant, the respondent making the complainant touch the respondent or another person, or the respondent making the complainant touch the complainant’s own body.

Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment

    Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, requests for sexual favor, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one of the conditions outlined in (1), (2), or (3), below, is present.

    Gender-Based Harassment: Gender-based harassment includes harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal or non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, even if the acts do not involve contact of a sexual nature, when one of the conditions outlined in (1), (2), or (3), below, is present.

      (1) Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct is made implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of a person’s instruction, academic standing, employment, or participation in any University program, activity, or benefit.

      (2) Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions.

      (3) Such conduct creates a hostile environment. A hostile environment exists when the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits or deprives an individual from participating in or benefiting from the University’s educational, employment, and/or campus-residential experience when viewed through both a subjective and objective standard.

    Sexual Exploitation: Any act where one person violates the sexual privacy of another or takes unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another without their consent.

    Intimate Partner Violence: Any act of violence or threatened act of violence that occurs between individuals who are involved or have been involved in a sexual, dating, spousal, domestic, or other intimate relationship. Intimate partner violence may include any form of prohibited conduct under this policy, including sexual assault, stalking, and physical abuse (as defined in the Policy).

    Stalking: A course of conduct (i.e., more than one act) directed at a specific person which would cause a reasonable person (under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the complainant) to feel fear, to experience substantial emotional distress, or to fear for their safety or the safety of a third person.

    Retaliation: The Policy prohibits acts or words taken against an individual or group of individuals involved in a protected activity. Protected activity includes making a good faith report under the Policy; filing an external complaint; opposing in a reasonable manner and consistent with University policy an action reasonably believed to constitute a violation of the Policy. Retaliation may also include acts or words taken against an individual or group of individuals because they have participated in proceedings under the Policy. Retaliation can take many forms, including, but not limited to, adverse action or violence, threats, and intimidation that would discourage a reasonable person (under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the complainant) from engaging in protected activity. Actions in response to a good faith report or response under the Policy are considered retaliatory if they have a materially adverse effect on the working, academic, or University-controlled living environment of an individual or if they hinder or prevent the individual from effectively carrying out their University responsibilities. All individuals and groups of individuals are prohibited from engaging in retaliation and will be held accountable under the Policy.

    Complicity: Any act that knowingly aids, facilitates, promotes, or encourages the commission of prohibited conduct by another person.

Consent

Consent is the voluntary, informed, and freely given agreement, through words and/or actions, to participate in mutually agreed-upon sexual acts. Consensual sexual activity happens when each partner willingly and affirmatively chooses to participate.

In evaluating whether consent has been freely sought and given, the University will consider the presence of any force, threat of force, or coercion; whether the complainant had the capacity to give consent; and, whether the communication (through words and/or actions) between the parties would be interpreted by a reasonable person (under similar circumstances and with similar identities) as a willingness to engage in a particular sexual act.

Consent cannot be obtained through physical force or where there is a reasonable belief of the threat of physical force, when one person overcomes the physical limitations of another person, or by taking advantage of another person’s incapacitation.

Incapacitation

Incapacitation is the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent because the individual is mentally and/or physically helpless, either voluntarily or involuntarily, or the individual is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise unaware that the sexual activity is occurring. In addition, an individual is incapacitated if they demonstrate that they are unaware at the time of the incident of where they are, how they got there, or why or how they became engaged in a sexual interaction.

When alcohol is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. When drug use is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond being under the influence or impaired by use of the drug. Alcohol and other drugs impact each individual differently, and determining whether an individual is incapacitated requires an individualized determination.

A respondent’s voluntary intoxication is never an excuse for or a defense to prohibited conduct, and it does not diminish the responsibility to determine that the other person has given consent.

Disclaimer: These key points are intended to provide a general overview of Baylor University’s Title IX process, which is governed by the Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Interpersonal Violence Policy, in effect Jan. 9, 2017.