Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination and Sexual Harassment Policies

Gender-Based Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy

Santa Clara University is committed to providing an environment free of gender-based discrimination, including sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual violence and assault, relationship (dating and domestic) violence, and stalking. The University provides resources and reporting options to students, faculty, and staff to address concerns related to gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct prohibited by Title IX and University policy, and, through training and education, works to prevent its occurrence. The University seeks to provide a consistent, caring, and timely response when sexual and gender-based misconduct occurs within the University community. When the University becomes aware of allegations of sexual misconduct, it will take prompt and effective action. This action may include an initial assessment of safety and well-being, implementing interim remedies at no cost to the complainant for protection and support, discussing how the complainant wishes to proceed, initiating an investigation, and identifying appropriate avenues for resolution. The University's response will be overseen by the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX.

The University's Gender-Based Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to all students, faculty, and staff, and includes any individual regularly or temporarily employed, studying, living, visiting, or serving in an official capacity at Santa Clara University (including volunteers and contractors). The policy applies to both on-campus and off-campus conduct and to online actions that have a potential or actual adverse impact on any member of the University community, or which substantially interferes with a person's ability to participate in University activities, or which could affect a substantial University interest or its educational mission. For more information about reporting, response, and adjudication, please see the University's Gender-Based Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy or contact the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX, www.scu.edu/title-ix.

NOTE: The Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations to be effective August 14, 2020. The University will update relevant policies and procedures including the Gender-Based Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy to ensure compliance and will post revisions online at www.scu.edu/title-ix.

What Constitutes Consent

The University adheres to California's definition of affirmative consent for sexual activity. Affirmative consent means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement 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.

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. 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.

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. The question of whether the responding party should have known of the reporting party's incapacity is an objective inquiry as to what a reasonable person, exercising sober judgment, would have known, in the same or similar circumstances.

Consent is not voluntary if forced or coerced. Force is the use of physical violence 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 Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. 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.

A person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening, asleep, or unconscious for any reason. A person violates this policy if they engage in sexual activity with someone they know to be, or should know to be, physically or mentally incapacitated. This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from a temporary or permanent physical or mental health condition, involuntary physical restraint, or the consumption of incapacitating drug or alcohol. Incapacitation occurs when someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g. to understand the "who, what, when, where, why, or how" of their sexual interaction).

Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual's state and is not synonymous with (under the) influence, impairment, intoxication, inebriation, blackout, or being drunk. It is not an excuse that the responding party was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the incapacity of the reporting party.

Reporting Options

There are confidential and non-confidential reporting options available. Confidential Resources include on and off campus mental counselors, health service providers, local rape crisis counselors, domestic violence resources, and members of the clergy and chaplains. Confidential on-campus resources include CAPS, Cowell Center, 408-554-4501; Wellness Center, 862 Market Street, 408-554-4409; and members of the clergy or chaplains. Confidential means that what a reporting party shares will not be communicated with anyone else unless except in extreme cases of immediacy of threat or abuse of a minor.

Reporting to Law Enforcement

For immediate, emergency assistance or to report a crime of sexual violence, including sexual assault, domestic/dating violence (intimate partner violence), and stalking students, contact the Santa Clara Police Department, dial 911, or contact Campus Safety Services at 408-554-4444.

Reporting to the University

To report an incident to the University, students may:

  • Report directly to the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX

  • Report online at https://www.scu.edu/title-ix/reporting/

  • Report anonymously using EthicsPoint at www.scu.edu/hr/quick-links/ethicspoint/

Other campus non-confidential reporting options: Students may report incidents and seek support from other University officials, including:

  • The Office of Student Life,

  • The Office of Residence Life (including Community Facilitators, Resident Directors, Assistant Resident Directors, Neighborhood Representatives, and Assistant Area Coordinators),

  • Spirituality Facilitators,

  • The Office of Housing,

  • Athletics and Recreation,

  • The Center for Student Leadership,

  • The Drahmann Center,

  • Office of Accessible Education (OAE),

  • The Career Center, and

  • Campus Ministry.

These University resources are required to report incidents to the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX, who will oversee the investigation and resolution process. At the time a report is made, a complainant does not have to decide whether or not to request or participate in an investigation or University resolution process.

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