Sexual Offenses Policies

Clark has specific policies for sexual offenses as it applies to Clark community members. Clark’s policies, standards, and regulations are written below. Understanding the community standards will help you navigate your time here at Clark and provide guidance. 

Download Sexual Offense Policy

Scope of Sexual Offenses Policy

This Student Sexual Offenses Policy is enforced by the Title IX Coordinator and applies to any instance in which any Clark student (undergraduate or graduate) is alleged to have engaged in a sexual offense against anyone (e.g., a student, employee, or third party such as a visiting athlete, guest speaker, or contractor), regardless of the complainant's or respondent's sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The University will respond to any complaint of student sexual offenses, including conduct alleged to have occurred during breaks, study abroad, leaves of absence, or periods of dismissal, whether on or off campus.

Consent 

  • Effective, clear consent is defined as a freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity, expressed either by words or clear, unambiguous actions.
  • It is the responsibility of the initiator of the sexual activity to ensure that they have the other person's consent to engage in sexual activity. Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time, as long as the withdrawal is communicated clearly. Consent cannot be assumed because of the existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved or due to the existence of a previous sexual relationship between the persons.
  • Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent.
  • Consent must be present throughout the sexual activity by all parties involved.
  • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
  • The respondent or complainant's use of alcohol or other drugs does not diminish the respondent's responsibility.
  • Consent may never be given by minors (in Massachusetts, those not yet sixteen (16) years of age), those who have a mental disability, those who are incapacitated as a result of alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntary and involuntary), or those who are unconscious, unaware, or otherwise physically helpless.
  • Evidence of incapacity may be detected from context clues, such as: slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol on breath, shaky equilibrium, vomiting, outrageous or unusual behavior; and/or unconsciousness.
  • This policy also covers someone whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of a so-called "date-rape" drug. Possession, use, and/or distribution of any of these substances is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another person for the purpose of inducing incapacity is a violation of this policy.

Definitions

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct is any intentional sexual touching of a person, however slight, with any object without effective consent. Sexual touching includes any bodily contact with the breasts, groin, genitals, mouth or other bodily orifice of another or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner. Any disrobing of, or exposure to, another person without effective consent is considered a violation of this policy.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation occurs when a student takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute Sexual Assault, Sexual Misconduct, or Sexual Harassment. Examples of Sexual Exploitation include, but are not limited to: making public sexual activity with another student without that other student's consent; prostituting another student; non-consensual video- or audio-taping of sexual activity; going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex); voyeurism; and/or knowingly transmitting an sexually transmitted infection (STI) or HIV to another student.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment consists of any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This includes, but is not limited to: submission to, or rejection of, such conduct that is made either implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of employment or participation in an education program; submission to, or rejection of, such conduct that is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting a student; such conduct that has the purpose or effect of interfering with a student's work or academic performance; or such conduct that creates a hostile or intimidating work or academic environment.

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault is any sexual penetration (anal, oral or vaginal), however slight, with any object or sexual intercourse by one or more persons upon another without effective consent. Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger and oral copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact.

Stalking

Stalking is a course of conduct (two or more acts) directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to a) fear for their safety or the safety of others or b) suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking behaviors include, but are not limited to: non-consensual communication (including in-person communication, telephone calls, voice/text/email messages, social networking site postings, instant messages, postings of pictures or information on websites, written letters, gifts, or any other communications that are undesired and/or place another person in fear); following, pursuing, waiting, or showing up uninvited at a workplace, place of residence, classroom, or other locations frequented by a person; surveillance and other types of observation, whether by physical proximity or electronic means; vandalism; trespassing; non consensual touching; direct physical or verbal threats against a person and/or their loved ones; gathering of information about a person from family friends, co-workers, and/or classmates; manipulative and controlling behaviors such as threats to harm oneself or threats to harm someone close to that person; and defamation or slander against a person.

Retaliation

The University will not tolerate retaliation in any form against any persons for their participation or involvement in the reporting, investigation, and/or resolution of matters subject to the Sexual Offense Policy.  The University will take appropriate steps to prevent and/or address retaliatory conduct immediately.  Retaliation includes any acts or words that constitute intimidation, threats or coercion because of that person’s (1) report of Sexual and Gender-Based Offense(s); (2) assistance in reporting of Sexual and Gender-Based Offense(s); (3) participation in any proceeding under the Policy or (4) protest of Sexual and Gender-Based Offense conduct, and that would also deter a reasonable person form reporting or assisting in reporting a violation of the policy, participating in any proceeding under the Policy, or protesting of Sexual and Gender based offenses.  An adverse action does not include minor annoyances or another’s lack of good manners as those actions will not deter a reasonable person from engaging in the process. The University includes retaliation in its definition of prohibited conduct under this Policy, as well as the University’s general prohibition on retaliation, which can be found at Sexual Offenses Policy.

IPV

Relationship abuse is defined as a pattern of coercive behaviors that serves to exercise control and power in an intimate relationship. The coercive and abusive behaviors can be physical, sexual, psychological, verbal and/or emotional. Relationship abuse can occur between current or former intimate partners who have dated, lived together, have a child together, currently reside together on or off campus, or who otherwise connected through a past or existing relationship. It can occur in opposite-sex and same-sex relationships.

Examples of relationship abuse include, but are not limited to: attempting to cause or causing bodily injury by hitting, slapping, punching, hair pulling, kicking, sexual assault and/or other forms of unwanted physical contact that causes harm; knowingly restricting the movements of another person; isolating or confining a person for a period of time; controlling or monitoring behavior; being verbally and/or emotionally abusive; exhibiting extreme possessiveness or jealousy.

Additionally Prohibited Conduct

  1. Aiding or facilitating a sexual offense means promoting or encouraging the commission of any behavior prohibited under this policy. Members of the Clark community are prohibited both from personally engaging in sexual offenses, and also from engaging in conduct which assists or encourages another person to engage in such misconduct.
  2. Attempted Violations In most circumstances, Clark University will treat attempts to commit any of the violations listed in this policy as if those attempts had been completed.
  3. False Reports Clark University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.