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Sexual Misconduct Policy

Consistent with Loyola’s mission and identity, the University maintains the highest standards for respectful sexual interactions between consenting individuals. Although Illinois law defines various violent and/or non-consensual sexual acts as crimes, for the purposes of the Comprehensive Policy, Loyola applies its own definitions and standards for the various ways in which sexual and/or gender-based misconduct are prohibited.

When allegations of sexual misconduct meet the definitional and jurisdictional requirements of Title IX sexual harassment, the requirements for Grievance Process complaints and the Grievance Process will apply, and a different set of policy definitions will be most relevant.

Certain forms of sexual misconduct are among the most harmful violations that any individual can undertake against the safety and dignity of our University community; the University therefore reserves the right to impose any level of assigned outcome, up to and including suspension or expulsion/termination, for any sexual violation based on the facts and circumstances of the particular case.

Acts of sexual misconduct may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity or expression of those involved. Specific violations include:

1.    Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration

Non-consensual sexual penetration is defined as:

  • any sexual penetration or attempted penetration,
  • however slight,
  • with any body part or object
  • by a person upon another person
  • that is without consent and/or by force.

Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration or oral copulation (genital to mouth contact) no matter how slight the penetration.

2.    Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Non-consensual sexual contact is defined as:

  • any intentional sexual touching,
  • however slight,
  • with any body part or object
  • by a person upon another person
  • that is without consent and/or by force.

Sexual touching includes intentional contact with the breasts, groin, or genitals; or touching another with any of these body parts; or making someone touch another or themselves with or on any of these body parts; or any other bodily contact made in a sexual manner.

3.    Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is broadly defined as:

  • unwelcome and objectively offensive,
  • sexual,
  • verbal, written, online, and/or physical conduct.

Sexual harassment occurs without regard to the respondent’s intent to cause harm and is based on the totality of the circumstances. Loyola may remedy any form of sexual harassment when reported, whether or not the behavior constitutes quid pro quo or hostile environment sexual harassment.

a.    Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo sexual harassment is defined as:

  • unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature,
  • by a person having power or authority over another,
  • when submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic status or participation in other University programs or activities, or
  • when submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions adversely affecting the individual.

b.    Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment

A hostile environment is created when sexual harassment is:

  • severe or persistent or pervasive; and
  • objectively offensive, such that it
  • unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits an individual’s or group’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational, employment, residential, or social program.

Unwelcomeness and objective offensiveness are evaluated based on the totality of the circumstances from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances. Other forms of sexual misconduct (as defined in Article 1, subsection VIII(B) of the Comprehensive Policy), when substantiated, may be considered in determining whether the sexual misconduct also contributed to a hostile environment.

c.     Title IX Sexual Harassment

In certain circumstances specifically defined under Title IX, some allegations of sexual harassment (including some instances of quid pro quo sexual harassment, hostile environment sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, as defined by law) may constitute Title IX sexual harassment. The definitions of each of these prohibited behaviors can be found here.

For the purpose of addressing formal complaints of Title IX sexual harassment, the University must comply with a specific, prescribed administrative process, which is provided for in the Comprehensive Policy as the Grievance Process. The Grievance Process will be followed for all formal complaints of Title IX sexual harassment.

All other reports and formal complaints of “non-Title IX” sexual harassment may be addressed according to the Equitable Resolution Procedures ("ERP").

4.    Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation refers to behavior wherein a person takes non-consensual or harmful sexual advantage of another and the behavior does not otherwise fall within the definitions of non-consensual sexual penetration, non-consensual sexual contact, or sexual harassment. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Sexual voyeurism (such as watching a person undressing, using the bathroom, or engaging in sexual acts without the consent of all persons observed).
  • Taking pictures or video or audio recording another in a sexual act or in other private activity without the consent of all involved, or exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as disseminating otherwise consensual sexual pictures without the photographed person’s consent).
  • Prostitution of oneself or others.
  • Engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or a sexually transmitted disease or infection without first disclosing the infection.
  • Administering alcohol or drugs (such as “date rape” drugs) to another person without the other person’s knowledge or consent and with the intent of taking sexual advantage of them.
  • Exposing one’s genitals (“flashing”) in non-consensual circumstances.
  • Sexually based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation in some cases.

5.    Intimate Partner and/or Domestic Violence

Intimate partner and/or domestic violence (“IP/DV”) is defined as any act of violence or threatened act of violence against someone in a past or present intimate, familial, or household relationship, including violence that occurs between roommates. Acts of violence may include, but are not limited to, physical violence, emotional abuse, economic abuse, property damage, and other forms of sexual violence. IP/DV may consist of one act of misconduct or an ongoing pattern of behavior.

6.    Stalking

Stalking is defined as an unwanted course of conduct (two or more acts) directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear for their safety or the safety of others or to suffer substantial emotional distress. Though stalking is usually considered a gender-based offense, stalking is prohibited even when the affected party was targeted because of membership in a different protected class or was targeted for some other reason.

In instances where stalking is found not to have been motivated by an individual’s membership in a protected class, the report may be referred elsewhere to be investigated and/or adjudicated under other University policies (such as the Community Standards for student respondents) as applicable.

Important Concepts

The following concepts are integral to understanding the Comprehensive Policy.

Consent

Consent is freely given, mutually understandable permission to engage in a specific sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consents to that specific sexual conduct. Neither silence nor the absence of resistance convey consent. Consent also cannot be gained by force or coercion, and an individual who is incapacitated cannot give consent.

Whether or not consent was communicated is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the sexual activity occurred and (if applicable), how the parties may have communicated consent in the past. However, past consent for sexual activity does not automatically convey current consent for sexual activity. Similarly, consent to some sexual activity (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to extend consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). The existence of a current or previous dating relationship also does not establish or convey consent.

Consent can be withdrawn at any time, and once the withdrawal of consent has been clearly communicated, the sexual activity must cease immediately.

Force

Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force may also include threats and/or intimidation (implied threats) used to overcome resistance to sexual activity (e.g., “Have sex with me or I’ll hit you/harm you/humiliate you/etc.”). Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual.

Coercion

Coercion is the use of pressure or manipulation to gain sexual access. Coercive behavior differs from seductive or sexually inviting behavior or the negotiation of boundaries/desires. When a person communicates that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, pressuring that person to go beyond that point can constitute coercion.

Incapacitation

Incapacitation is defined as a state in which an individual cannot fully understand or comprehend the nature or context of their decisions and/or actions. An incapacitated person cannot, by definition, consent to sexual activity because they cannot understand or appreciate the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of the sexual activity in question. Incapacitation may result from a person consuming a large amount of alcohol or other drugs, having a mental disability, being asleep or passed out, or being involuntarily physically restrained. Incapacitation is a state beyond intoxication.

A person cannot consent to sexual activity if they are incapacitated. An individual who engages in sexual activity when that individual knows or reasonably should know that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has violated the Comprehensive Policy. The intoxication of a respondent, such that the respondent may not have realized the incapacity of an affected party, does not excuse such a violation.

Under Illinois law, a minor (meaning a person under 17 years old) does not have the capacity to consent to sexual activity under any circumstances. This means that any sexual activity with a person under 17 is both a crime and a violation of the Comprehensive Policy, even if the minor wanted to engage in the activity.