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Terms Defined

Title IX

Title IX is a statute under the Education Amendments of 1972 that prohibits discrimination and harassment based on gender in education programs and activities that receive federal financial funds.

Confidential Resources

Confidential resources on the USU campus include advocates in the Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information office and counselors in Counseling and Psychological Services. Confidentiality means that information shared by an individual cannot be revealed to any other person without the express permission of the individual, or as otherwise permitted or required by law.
Any student who has experienced sexual misconduct may seek assistance and support from a confidential resource while maintaining confidentiality for the information they share and without triggering university action.
Though not a confidential resource, the Title IX office treats reports with as much privacy as possible. A student or bystander may also request that information shared with a non-confidential resource, like the Title IX office, remain confidential and/or anonymous. USU balances all requests for confidentiality against the university’s responsibility to protect the health and safety of the individual student and the university community.


Privacy means that information about an incident of sexual misconduct will be shared with a limited circle of university employees who need to know only to assist in the assessment, investigation, and resolution of the report.


Consent is an explicit agreement to engage in sexual activity, when someone agrees, gives permission, or says "yes" to sexual activity. Consent is always freely given and all people in a sexual situation must feel that they are able to say "yes" or "no" or stop the sexual activity at any point.

Consent must be informed, freely given and mutual among all participants involved. If coercion, intimidation, threats, and/or physical force is used, there is no consent. A person cannot give consent if he or she lacks the ability to understand the decision because of disability, is sleeping and/or unconscious, consumption of alcohol or drugs or if he or she is unwillingly restrained.

The use of alcohol or drugs does not justify or excuse sexual harassment/misconduct and never makes someone at fault for experiencing sexual harassment/misconduct. Consent must be ongoing, throughout each instance of sexual activity, and for each form of sexual contact.

Consent to one form of sexual contact does not constitute consent to all forms of sexual contact. For example, an individual may agree to kiss but choose not to engage in touching of the intimate parts or sexual intercourse. Consent may be withdrawn at any time. An individual who seeks to withdraw consent must communicate through clear words or actions a decision to cease the sexual activity. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must cease immediately.

In the state of Utah, a 16 or 17 year-old cannot consent to sexual activity if the other person is ten (10) or more years older than the minor.

At the heart of consent is the idea that every person has a right to personal sovereignty – the right to not be acted upon by someone else in a sexual manner unless they give that person clear permission. It is the responsibility of the person initiating the sexual activity to get this permission.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or status as a student in a course, program or activity.
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting an individual.
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for working or learning
USU prohibits sexual harassment of any employee, student, or recipient of the services of USU. Anyone who feels that he/she is the victim of sexual harassment or any supervisor or manager who is made aware of an alleged incident of sexual harassment must take immediate action to resolve the matter.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. It can range from unwanted sexual touching to rape.

Dating Violence

Dating violence is controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. It can happen in straight or gay relationships. It can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or a combination.

Both men and women can be victims of dating violence, but men and women abuse their partners in different ways. Women are more likely to yell, threaten to hurt themselves, pinch, slap, scratch, or kick. Men are more likely to physically injure women and force them to participate in sexual activity without consent. Some victims experience physical violence only occasionally; others, more often.


Stalking is a distinctive form of criminal activity composed of a series of actions that, taken individually, might constitute legal behavior. For example, sending flowers, writing love notes, and waiting for someone outside her place of work are actions that, on their own, are not criminal. When these actions are coupled with an intent to instill fear or injury, however, they may constitute a pattern of behavior that is illegal.

Sexual Assault Forensic Exam

A sexual assault forensic exam, often called a “rape kit,” can preserve possible DNA evidence and make sure you receive important medical attention. You do not have to file a police report in order to have a rape kit done.

How to get a sexual assault forensic exam

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct is a broad non-legal term encompassing any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is committed without consent or by force, intimidation, coercion, or manipulation. The term includes a range of behaviors including sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual assault (intercourse), non-consensual sexual assault (unwanted sexual contact), and sexual exploitation. Sexual misconduct can be committed by a person of any gender, and it can occur between people of the same or different genders. Using this term serves to differentiate campus policy processes, which are administrative and educational, from the criminal justice system, in which people are charged with crimes that carry criminal penalties. Intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and stalking are behaviors that fall under our sexual harassment policy (Policy #339) and are considered sexual misconduct.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is a term used more broadly by society to refer to a continuum of behaviors such as attempted or completed rape, sexual coercion, unwanted contact or touching, and non-contact unwanted experiences like harassment. USU policy addresses these behaviors in its sexual harassment policy (Policy #339), but typically refers to them as sexual misconduct in order to distinguish its university administrative policy process from the criminal justice system.