Sexual Misconduct Policy

Trinity University prohibits sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence, stalking, and retaliation, as defined below. Note that violations of this policy may also constitute violations of the Student Code of Conduct, state, or federal law.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment means unwelcome, sex-based verbal or physical conduct that:

1. In the employment context, unreasonably interferes with a person’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; or

2. In the educational context, is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct interferes with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities at a postsecondary educational institution.

Examples of conduct that may constitute a violation include but are not limited to unwanted efforts to develop a romantic or sexual relationship, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct based upon sex

  • when submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in other University activities;
  • when submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting the individual; or
  • when such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work performance or access to programs or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive University environment.

Non-consensual Sexual Intercourse

Non-consensual sexual intercourse is intercourse that occurs without consent (defined below). Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Penetration or causing penetration of an orifice (anal, vaginal, oral) with any body part or object, however slight or momentary;
  • Other acts of oral, vaginal, or anal stimulation; and
  • Knowingly exposing a person to and/or transmitting a sexually transmitted infection or HIV/AIDS to another person

Non-consensual Sexual Contact

Non-consensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight or momentary, or the use of an object to touch another in a sexual manner that is without consent (defined below). Sexual touching includes, but is not limited to, any contact with breasts, groin, genitals, mouth, or other bodily orifice of another individual, or any other contact in a sexual manner. 

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation refers to a situation in which a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to the advantage or benefit of anyone other than the one being exploited, and which behavior does not constitute any other form of Sexual Misconduct.

Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, engaging in the following activities without the other person(s) consent:

  • Sexual voyeurism such as watching or recording a person undressing, using the bathroom, or engaging in sexual acts in a place where they would have a reasonable expectation of privacy;
  • Taking or sharing pictures or recording another in a sexual act, or in any other private activity (such as allowing another person to hide in a closet and observe sexual activity), or disseminating sexual pictures, including as an act of revenge, without the consent of all individuals depicted;
  • Exposing one’s genitals or breasts in non-consensual circumstances or inducing another to expose his or her genitals or breasts; 
  • Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as engaging in actions that were not consented to during an otherwise consensual encounter);
  • Prostitution;
  • Threatening to disclose or disclosing a person’s sexual activities, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression;
  • Administering alcohol or drugs (such as “date rape” drugs) to another person without their knowledge and consent.
  • Intentionally aiding a violation of the sexual misconduct policy

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner Violence includes both Dating and Domestic Violence, defined below, as well as any act, threat, or pattern of abusive behavior (including sexual, physical, psychological, and economic) that one person uses against a current or former partner in a sexual, dating, spousal, domestic, parenting or other intimate relationship, to gain or maintain power or control over another. Intimate Partner Violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior within a relationship.

The determination of whether any conduct constitutes Intimate Partner Violence is whether the conduct is so severe, pervasive or persistent as to interfere with an individual’s ability to learn and/or work or cause substantial emotional distress, when judged both objectively (meaning that a “reasonable person” would find the behavior to be intimidating, frightening, terrorizing, or threatening) and subjectively (meaning the impacted individual felt the behavior was intimidating, frightening, terrorizing, or threatening).

The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship; the type of the relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Dating Violence

Includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship; the type of the relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. 

Domestic Violence

Includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by:

  • a current or former spouse of the victim; 
  • by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
  • by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
  • or by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of Texas; by any other person who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Texas.

Stalking

Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their own safety, the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional duress. This applies to acts that occur between people who currently have or have had a romantic or sexual relationship or occur because of the accused person’s desire to have a romantic or sexual relationship with the victim. Stalking includes cyberstalking. If someone engages in acts of stalking after university intervention, that may be considered a new and distinct report. 

Retaliation

The university takes reports of Sexual Misconduct very seriously and will not tolerate retaliation against those who make such reports or cooperate with or participate in the investigation or adjudication process. Retaliation includes but is not limited to any behavior, adverse action, treatment, or condition taken against a person for alleging a violation of this policy or otherwise participating under this policy. This includes direct or indirect behavior or actions taken by an individual or at the direction of a party or someone participating under this policy. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to intimidation, threats or menacing behavior, coercion, and discriminatory actions. Any behavior that has the purpose or effect of intimidating or improperly influencing any individual’s participation in the investigation or adjudication process may also be retaliation.

Any act of actual or threatened retaliation will be investigated immediately and adjudicated separately. Retaliation may also result in immediate removal from the University. Any person who believes they have been subjected to retaliation should immediately report this to the Title IX Coordinator.

Consent

Consent is knowing, voluntary, and clear permission by word or action to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity or contact.

  • 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.
  • A person can withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity by expressing in words or actions that they no longer want the act to continue, and, if that happens, the other person must stop immediately. Continued pressure can be coercive, which negates consent given under such circumstances.
  • Consent cannot be inferred from silence or the absence of resistance.
  • Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be 10 consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse).
  • A current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent.
  • Consent cannot be obtained by coercion, force, or from someone who is incapacitated.
  • In order to give effective consent, one must be 17 years old in Texas.

Coercion and Force

The use of coercion or force to obtain consent invalidates the consent. Generally, coercion is the act of unreasonably pressuring another person into doing something against their will. Sexual coercion can involve using physical force and/or convincing another person to engage in sexual activity by use of verbal and emotional pressure including manipulation, intimidation, and/or the use of alcohol or other drugs to make someone more vulnerable. What is unreasonable will be determined on a case by case basis, considering a number of factors such as the desire to be persuaded (seduction versus coercion), the intensity, frequency and duration of persuasion, and the isolation of individuals.

Force is the direct or indirect use of physical violence, threats, and/or imposing on someone physically. There is no requirement that someone resist the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent.

Incapacitation

A person is incapacitated and cannot consent to sexual activity if that person is asleep, unconscious, or otherwise unable to resist; is unaware that sexual activity is occurring; does not have the ability to make informed, rational judgments about whether or not to engage in sexual activity; and/or the person does not have the legal capacity to consent. Someone can be incapacitated due to the voluntary or involuntary use of alcohol or drugs. Drunkenness is different than incapacitation, and does not, in itself, automatically indicate a violation. Some signs that someone may be incapacitated include stumbling, slurring words, a lack of control of their motor skills; or inability to understand what is happening.

  • Students who are not sure if they are interacting with a person who had diminished capacity should, as a matter of practice, avoid engaging in a sexual act with that person at that time. Someone who has ingested a “date rape” drug or is blacked out may not appear incapacitated; nonetheless, this person is incapable of knowing consent. A student who has sexual interactions with anyone who may be under the influence of any substance is vulnerable to accusations of violations of this policy.
  • An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is incapacitated, has violated the sexual misconduct policy.
  • Being drunk or intoxicated is not an excuse for sexual misconduct.
  • Possession, use and/or distribution and/or administering of any incapacitating drugs to someone without their knowledge and consent, is prohibited and is a violation of this policy.