The following terms are related to Title IX. Additional details are provided in the Gender-based Misconduct Policy.
Adviser: Advisers serve as a support person for the complainant and the respondent during the process, including participating in investigative meetings, meetings with the Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinator, and sanctioning meetings. Students who are witnesses to the incident or are otherwise involved in the matter may not typically serve as advisers. Advisers are not permitted to advocate for a student or speak on their behalf during any of the aforementioned meetings. The adviser’s role shall be to quietly and unobtrusively advise the advisee in whispers or by written note.
Aiding or Facilitating: Aiding or facilitating includes aiding, facilitating, promoting, or encouraging the commission of a violation under this Policy. Aiding or facilitating may also include failing to take action to prevent an imminent act when it is reasonably prudent and safe to do so. Taking action may include directly intervening, calling the Springfield College Department of Public Safety or local law enforcement, or seeking assistance from a person in authority.
Complainant: The individual who believes themselves to have been the subject of gender-based misconduct.
Confidentiality: Confidentiality exists in the context of laws that protect certain relationships, including medical and clinical care providers, mental health providers, counselors, and ordained clergy (but not those who provide administrative services related to the provision of those services), all of whom may engage in the confidential communications under Massachusetts law. Springfield College confidential resources can be found here.
Consent: Consent to engage in sexual activity must be knowing and voluntary. 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.
For example, an individual may agree to kiss, but choose not to engage in touching of the intimate parts or sexual intercourse. An individual should obtain consent before moving from one act to another. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another. Each person must obtain individual consent.
Consent may be withdrawn by any party at any time. Withdrawal of consent must also be outwardly demonstrated by words or actions that clearly indicate a desire to end sexual activity. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed, sexual activity must cease.
Consent consists of an outward demonstration indicating that an individual has freely chosen to engage in sexual activity. Consent is demonstrated through mutually understandable words and/or actions that clearly indicate a willingness to engage freely in sexual activity.
A current or previous dating or sexual relationship, by itself, is not sufficient to constitute consent. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutually understandable communication that clearly indicates willingness to engage in sexual activity each time such activity occurs. Consent to previous sexual activity does not constitute consent in the future. Consent must be obtained each time.
In the state of Massachusetts, consent can never be given by minors under the age of 16. Consent is not effective if it results from the use or threat of physical force, intimidation or coercion, or any other factor that would eliminate an individual’s ability to exercise his or her own free will to choose whether or not to have sexual contact. Coercion includes the use of pressure and/or oppressive behavior, including express or implied threats of harm and/or severe and/or pervasive emotional intimidation, which places an individual in fear of immediate or future harm or physical injury or causes a person to engage in unwelcome sexual activity. A person’s words or conduct amount to coercion if they wrongfully impair the other’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity.
Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.
Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviors and tactics used by one person over another to gain power and control. This may include verbal abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and physical abuse. Domestic violence occurs in heterosexual, as well as same-sex partnerships, and crosses all ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic lines.
Hostile Environment: A hostile environment exists when sex-based harassment is sufficiently serious to deny or limit an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s education or employment programs or activities. When considering whether conduct has created a hostile environment, Springfield College considers the conduct from the perspective of a “reasonable person,” measuring how severe, persistent, and/or pervasive the conduct is.
Hostile Environment Harassment: This kind of harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive as to limit a person’s ability to work or participate in a program or activity.
Incapacitation: An individual who is incapacitated is not able to make rational, reasonable judgments and therefore is incapable of giving consent. Incapacitation is the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent, because the individual is mentally and/or physically helpless 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. In addition, an individual is incapacitated if the individual demonstrates that they are unaware of where they are, how they got there, or why or how they became engaged in a sexual interaction. Where alcohol is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. Some indicators of incapacitation may include, but are not limited to, lack of control over physical movements, lack of awareness of circumstances or surroundings, or the inability to communicate for any reason. An individual may experience a blackout state in which he/she appears to be giving consent but does not actually have conscious awareness or the ability to consent. It is especially important, therefore, that anyone engaging in sexual activity be aware of the other person’s level of intoxication due to alcohol and/or drug use. The relevant standard that will be applied is whether the respondent knew, or a sober reasonable person in the same position should have known, that the other party was incapacitated and therefore could not consent to the sexual activity.
Intimidation: Placing another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words and/or other conduct, but without displaying a weapon or subjecting the person to actual physical attack.
No-Contact Order: A no-contact order involves communication and contact restrictions to prevent further potentially harmful interaction. These communication and contact restrictions generally preclude in-person, telephone, electronic, or third-party communications.
Privacy: Privacy means that information related to a report of gender-based misconduct will be shared with a limited circle of College employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the support of the complainant and in the assessment, investigation, and resolution of a report.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment: This kind of harassment occurs when a person with authority uses submission to or rejection of unwelcome sexual conduct as the basis for making academic or employment decisions, affecting a subordinate or a student. This kind of harassment usually involves explicit or implicit threats of retaliation for refusing to submit to sexual advances.
Respondent: The individual who has been accused of gender-based misconduct.
Responsible Employee: This is someone who must report any disclosed or witnessed Title IX violation.
Retaliation: Acts or attempts to retaliate or seek retribution against the complainant, respondent, or any individual or group of individuals involved in the investigation and/or resolution of an allegation of gender-based misconduct. Retaliation can be committed by any individual or group of individuals, not just a respondent or complainant. Retaliation may include continued abuse or violence, other forms of harassment, slander, and libel. Retaliation does not include reports and/or complaints of gender-based misconduct that are made in good faith.
Sexual Exploitation: An act or acts committed through non-consensual abuse or exploitation of another person’s sexuality for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit or advantage, or any other non-legitimate purpose. The act or acts of sexual exploitation are prohibited even though the behavior does not constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Sexual exploitation may involve individuals who are known to one another, have an intimate or sexual relationship, and/or individuals not known to one another.
Sexual Violence: Sexual violence involves physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. This includes rape, sexual assault, battery, and sexual coercion. Sexual violence may involve individuals who are known to one another or have an intimate and/or sexual relationship, or may involve individuals not known to one another.
Stalking: In Massachusetts, "stalking " is a specific criminal offense found in the penal code. Stalking refers to a clear, repetitive pattern of intentional unwanted, harassing, or threatening behavior directed toward another person, or that of immediate family members, that causes fear of personal safety.
Third Party: Any other participant in the process, including a witness to the incident or an individual who makes a report on behalf of someone else.