Important Terms and Concepts

Complainant: An individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute Prohibited Sexual Harassment.

Respondent: An individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute Prohibited Sexual Harassment.

Witness: An individual who may have information relevant to a report of Prohibited Sexual Harassment. A witness may be a student, faculty member, staff member, third party, or expert.

Prohibited Title IX Sexual Harassment: Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  • Quid pro quo sexual harassment—an employee (faculty, staff, or student employee) of the university conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the university on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.
  • Severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive sexual harassment—unwelcome conduct (physical and/or verbal) determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the university’s education programs or activities.

Consent: Consent is an informed, voluntary, and active agreement expressed through affirmative words or actions, and mutually understandable to all parties involved, to engage in a specific sexual act at a specific time. Consent must be:

  • Informed: the individuals know about and understand the specific sexual activity they are agreeing to;
  • Voluntary: the individuals agree to the specific sexual activity freely without coercion, intimidation, or undue influence; and
  • Active: the individuals communicate their agreement to engage in the specific sexual activity through affirmative words and/or actions that are reasonably recognizable, i.e., not silence, passivity, lack of resistance, or the absence of “No.”

Consent cannot be obtained by force. Force includes the use of physical violence, threats, intimidation, and/or coercion. Consent cannot be obtained by taking advantage of a person who does/did not have the capacity to consent, where the person initiating sexual activity knew or reasonably should have known the other person lacked this capacity. Consent also cannot be assumed. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other party has consented before engaging in the activity.

Sexual assault: “Sexual assault” includes conduct classified as “Sex Offenses” under the uniform crime reporting system. This includes any sexual act including rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object, fondling, incest, and statutory rape against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.

Dating violence: Violence committed by a person:

  • Who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
  • Where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: length of the relationship; type of relationship; and frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic violence: Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by:

  • A current or former spouse of the victim;
  • A person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
  • A person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse;
  • A person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction; or
  • Any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:

  • Fear for their safety or the safety of others; or
  • Suffer substantial emotional distress.

Retaliation: ISU prohibits retaliation against any party or individual who reports misconduct or participates in the investigation of a report of misconduct. ISU’s Non-Retaliation Against Persons Reporting Misconduct policy can be found at: