Sexual Misconduct Definitions


Amnesty as defined by Application of Student Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use Policy for Reports of Sexual Misconduct: The University strongly encourages students to report instances of sexual misconduct. Hamline recognizes that students who have been drinking or using drugs at the time of an incident of actual or suspected sexual misconduct may hesitate to report because of potential discipline consequences for their own conduct. Therefore, students who report sexual misconduct, either as a victim or a third party witness, will not be subject to formal disciplinary action by Hamline under the Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use Policy for their personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided that any such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. Hamline may, however, initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies regarding alcohol or other drugs.


Consent requires words or specific actions by a person capable physically and mentally to give consent that are intended to communicate a freely-made agreement to perform or experience a particular sexual act with a particular person. Consent may not be inferred from permission for another sexual act or from a prior or existing dating, sexual, romantic, or marital relationship. Minnesota law defines “consent” as “words or overt actions by a person indicating a freely given present agreement to perform a particular sexual act with the actor.”

Consent may be withdrawn at any point during sexual contact. Consent to engage in sexual activity must exist from the beginning to end of 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.

  • Force, threats, intimidation, or coercion: The use of force, threats, intimidation or coercion to engage in sexual contact negates consent and constitutes sexual assault.
    • Force includes the use of physical assault; use of physical restraint; and use of a weapon, threats, or intimidation.
    • Threats include the use of direct or implied suggestions, promises, or statements of negative consequences to the recipient if the individual fails to cooperate or acquiesce and that are intended to compel the recipient to do something that they would not otherwise do.
    • Intimidation includes the use of power or authority to compel another to acquiesce or cooperate.
    • Coercion is the exertion of an unreasonable degree of pressure, duress, or cajoling to engage in sexual contact when reasonably aware that such sexual contact is unwelcome.

Minnesota law defines “coercion” as “the use by the actor of words or circumstances that cause the complainant reasonably to fear that the actor will inflict bodily harm upon the complainant or another, or the use by the actor of confinement, or superior size or strength, against the complainant that causes the complainant to submit to sexual penetration or contact against the complainant's will.” Minn. Stat. § 609.342-3451. The law specifically states that “[p]roof of coercion does not require proof of a specific act or threat.” Id.

  • Incapacitation: Persons who are incapacitated may not consent to sexual activity. Incapacitation is the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent, because the individual is mentally and/or physically helpless or impaired due to drug or alcohol consumption, either voluntarily or involuntarily; or the individual is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise unaware that the sexual activity is occurring.
  • Alcohol and drugs: Alcohol and drugs are often a factor in sexual assaults. Alcohol impairs a person’s decision-making capacity, awareness of the consequences, and ability to make informed judgments. Being intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol is never an excuse for sexual misconduct and does not relieve one from the responsibility to obtain consent for sexual contact. Thus, while the use or consumption of drugs or alcohol will be considered to determine whether an alleged victim of sexual assault was incapacitated, it will not be considered as relevant or as a mitigating factor in determining the responsibility of the person alleged to have committed an act of sexual assault.

Gender-based harassment

Schools have a responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, including transgender students. Harassment that targets a student based on gender identity, gender expression, transgender status, or gender transition is harassment based on sex, and therefore is covered as part of Title IX. This includes using pronouns and names consistent with a transgender student’s gender identity, and not disclosing the status of a student to others who do not have a need to know.

Relationship violence

Relationship violence, including "dating violence" or "domestic violence," is any pattern of behavior used to coerce, dominate, or isolate one’s current or former dating, intimate, or marital partner or family member. Such behavior may include one or more of the following:

  • Physical assault
  • Emotional or psychological abuse
  • Destruction of property or abuse of a pet
  • Communication in any form, anonymously or directly, that uses coarse language or threats that intimidate, terrify, annoy, harass, threaten, or offend
  • Sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexually inappropriate conduct, or stalking
  • Denial of use of or access to owned or shared assets
  • Limiting or controlling access to educational or work opportunities
  • Isolation used to deprive another of personal freedom of movement or access to friends, family, or support systems

While Minnesota law does not define “dating violence” or “domestic violence” specifically, its laws regarding domestic abuse are set forth in Minnesota’s Domestic Abuse Act. Minnesota law defines “domestic abuse” to include the following conduct if it is committed against a family or household member by a family or household member:

  • Physical harm, bodily injury, or assault
  • The infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault
  • Terroristic threats, criminal sexual conduct, or interference with an emergency call

Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 2. A “family or household member” means, spouses and former spouses; parents and children; persons related by blood; persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past; persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time; a man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time; and persons involved in a current or past significant romantic or sexual relationship.


Retaliation It shall be a violation of this policy to retaliate against anyone who has, in good faith, brought forward a complaint pursuant to this policy, provided testimony in good faith, or otherwise participated in proceedings conducted under this policy. Persons who feel that they have been retaliated against should immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

Sexual assault

Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to, rape. Sexual assault is intentional sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent.

Sexual contact

Sexual contact takes many forms. It includes, but is not limited to, intentional contact, either actual, attempted or threatened, with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals; touching another with any of these body parts; penetrating of the anus, mouth, or vagina with a penis, finger, tongue or other object; making someone touch or penetrate themselves or another with or on any of these body parts or objects; or any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner. These definitions apply whether the person receiving the contact is fully clothed, partially clothed, or unclothed.

Sexual misconduct

Sexual misconduct is a broad term that includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking.


Stalking may constitute sexual misconduct and is prohibited by this policy. Stalking is defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person involving more than one instance of unwanted attention, harassment, physical or verbal contact, or any other course of conduct directed at an individual that could be reasonably regarded as likely to alarm or place that individual in fear of harm or injury, including physical, emotional, or psychological harm. Stalking includes the use of electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts or other similar forms of contact to pursue, harass, or make unwelcome contact with another person.

As defined by Minnesota law, stalking means “means to engage in conduct which the actor knows or has reason to know would cause the victim under the circumstances to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted, or intimidated, and causes this reaction on the part of the victim regardless of the relationship between the actor and victim.” Minn. Stat. § 609.7

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