Definitions of Key Terms

  • Clery Act: a consumer protection law that requires universities to share information about crime on or around campus and efforts to improve campus safety.
  • Complaint: a complaint of sexual misconduct is a request for action by the university; complaints of sexual harassment or exploitation may be investigated internally or externally or settled by mediation; complaints of sexual assault (non-consensual sexual contact or intercourse) are investigated by an exernal investigator contracted by the university.
  • Complainant: a person who has filed a complaint of sexual misconduct.
  • Confidential source: a person who can offer support without having to report misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator; confidential sources include counselors, health care workers, clergy, and sexual assault advocates (including SHARE Advocates at Lawrence).
  • Consent: agreement to participate in sexual activity; consent can be given through words or actions but must be knowing (with full understanding of the situation), clear (unambiguous), and freely given (uncoerced); consent can be revoked at any time; and consent cannot be given by anyone under age 18 in Wisconsin.
  • Cyber-stalking: a form of sexual harassment in which the internet or other electronic device is used to stalk someone. Cyber-stalkers may use e-mail, chat rooms, social networking sites, and other tools to monitor, harass, embarrass, or threaten their victims.
  • External investigator: an independent expert contracted by the university to investigate all complaints of sexual assault and any complaints of sexual harassment or exploitation referred by the Title IX coordinator or university authorities.
  • Hostile environment: physical, social, or emotional interaction that unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program or activities and/or to carry out the duties of employment.
  • Intimate partner violence (also dating violence, domestic violence, or relationship violence): The actual or threatened physical, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse of an individual by someone with whom they have a current or prior intimate relationship or shared residence.
  • Office of Civil Rights (OCR): the branch of the Department of Education that oversees compliance with Title IX regulations.
  • Quid pro quo (= one thing for another): offering a benefit in exchange for a sexual favor, or threatening to take away a benefit if a sexual request is not satisfied.
  • Rape culture: cultural practices that tolerate, excuse, or condone sexual violence.
  • Report: a report notifies the Title IX Coordinator of sexual misconduct; reports are kept in a secure location and used to offer help and to improve campus safety; they are not formally investigated unless they indicate a pattern, predator, threats, violence, or weapons.
  • Respondent: the person who is responding to a complaint of sexual misconduct (the person the complaint is about).
  • Responsible employee: a person who, if informed about sexual misconduct, is required to file a contact report with the Title IX Coordinator.  Responsible employees include faculty, coaches, residence hall directors and residence life advisors, administrators, supervisory staff, and campus safety officers.
  • Retaliation: any harassing action (threats, violence, demotion or firing, etc.) against a person who filed a report or complaint of sexual misconduct; retaliation is expressly forbidden by Title IX.
  • Sanctions: disciplinary actions taken against those found in violation of the sexual misconduct policy; sanctions range from expulsion to suspension to warning and may include restrictions on campus or requirements for counseling.
  • SANE exam: a medical examination provided by a sexual assault nurse examiner; SANE exams are provided to victims of sexual assault at no charge.
  • Sexting: the sending of sexually explicit photos, images, text messages, or e-mails by using a cell phone or other mobile device; sexting can lead to sexual exploitation; sexting involving minors can lead to charges of child pornography.
  • Sexual assault: non-consensual sexual contact or intercourse.
  • Sexual contact: any intentional or forced sexual touching by one person of another person, whether with a body part or object, without consent.  Sexual touching includes contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals of either person.
  • Sexual exploitation: taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another, whether by invading sexual privacy (viewing or causing someone to view sexual activity or sharing sexual images without permission), possessing or transmitting child pornography, knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection, or prostituting another person.
  • Sexual harassment: unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature (sex talk, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, etc.) that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates a hostile environment; sexual relations between persons of unequal status may be perceived as sexual harassment, and a single act of sexual violence constitutes sexual harassment.
  • Sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral): vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger, or object, no matter how slight, or mouth-genital contact.
  • Sexual misconduct: sexual harassment, exploitation, or assault as defined in the sexual misconduct policy.
  • Sexual violence: sexual activity where consent is not obtained or freely given.
  • SHARE: the university's Sexual Harassment and Assault Resources & Education group, which advises the university on matters related to sexual misconduct and provides training and support to members of the campus community.
  • SHARE confidential resource: a student, faculty, or staff member of SHARE who has been designated as a confidential source for helping members of the campus community affected by sexual misconduct.
  • Title IX: a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or gender in any federally funded education program or activity; sexual harassment and assault are considered forms of sex discrimination.
  • Title IX coordinator: the person responsible for monitoring the institution’s compliance with Title IX, including its efforts to address and prevent sexual misconduct and sex discrimination.
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