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Preventing Sexual Violence - Definitions

Unlawful Discrimination or Harassment
Unlawful discrimination or harassment includes discrimination or harassment based on race, religion, color, creed, age, national origin or ancestry, sex, marital status, physical or mental disability, veteran or disabled veteran status, genetic predisposition/carrier status, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship status or any other characteristic protected by any applicable law, ordinance, or regulation. Applicable laws that prohibit such discrimination and harassment include, but are not limited to, the following: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin; Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1972 (“Title IX”), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. This Policy prohibits discrimination against or harassment of any individual based upon that individual’s membership in a protected class, regardless of whether it rises to the level of unlawful discrimination or harassment. In addition, this Policy protects all others listed in “To Whom Applicable” above, even if they are not members of a protected class, such as when one is discriminated against or harassed based on an inaccurate assumption that such person is a member of a protected class. Examples of conduct that may violate this Policy include the use of epithets, slurs, jokes, stereotyping, or intimidating or hostile acts directed at any individual because of his/her protected class status, as well as the failure to provide equal consideration, acknowledgment or access to educational opportunities to equally qualified individuals. Harassment does not have to include intent to harm or be directed at a specific target. Prohibited harassment may involve a single episode or ongoing behavior depending on the severity of the issue. Further, this Policy forbids not only verbal harassment but also harassment in any medium, including email, electronically (cell phones), and social media. Discrimination and harassment can take many forms. Prohibited conduct includes, but is not be limited to, behaviors commonly recognized as sexual harassment, sexual abuse/assault, other physical violence, threatening behavior and stalking. Sexual harassment, including sexual abuse/assault (“sexual violence”), is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX and other laws. All of these behaviors are prohibited regardless of the relationship or gender of the parties involved, and thus any such harassment that occurs in a dating or domestic relationship is specifically prohibited by this Policy. Sexual abuse/assault, stalking, domestic violence and dating violence are prohibited by this Policy as well as federal and state laws; anyone found responsible by the College for such conduct will face serious disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or expulsion from the College for students, and termination of College employment for employees.

Gender Identity
Gender identity refers to an individual’s internal sense of gender. A person’s gender identity may be different from or the same as the person’s sex assigned identity at birth. A sex assigned at birth simply references the sex designation recorded on an infant’s birth certificate should such a record be provided at birth. Transgender refers to those individuals whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender transition refers to the process in which transgender individuals begin asserting the sex that corresponds to their gender identity instead of the sex designation they were assigned at birth. During gender transition, individuals may begin to live and identify as the sex consistent with their asserted gender identity and may dress differently, adopt a new name, and use pronouns consistent with their asserted gender identity.

For the purposes of understanding the applicability of this Policy, a student’s gender identity is defined as a protected class in the same way as a student’s sex. Therefore, this Policy will not apply to a transgender student differently than the way the Policy applies to other students of the same gender identity.

A student, or the student’s parent or guardian (or applicable), may assert a gender identity that differs from previous representations or records by notifying College administration that the student will assert a gender identity that differs from previous representations or records. Under this Policy, from the time of notification, the student will be treated consistent with the student’s gender identity. There is no requirement of any type of medical diagnosis, treatment, or documentation that the student must meet as a prerequisite to being treated consistent with their gender identity.

Should a student, or the student’s parent or guardian (or applicable), request to correct a student’s education records to make them consistent with the student’s gender identity, this Policy requires that such request be considered consistent with general practices for amending other students’ records. If the request is not granted, the requestor will be informed of such and entitled to a hearing. If, after the hearing, the records are not amended consistent with the student’s gender identity, then the requestor may assert their right to insert a statement in the record with the requestor’s comments on the contested information. This statement will be disclosed whenever the records, to which the statement relates, are disclosed.

This Policy's provisions regarding gender identity, and the Policy’s treatment of a student as consistent with their asserted gender identity, applies to the College’s commitment to a safe and nondiscriminatory environment, representative identifying documents, names/pronouns, sex-segregated College-operated activities and facilities, restrooms and locker rooms, and housing and overnight accommodations. Therefore, the Policy maintains the following:

  1. A transgender student will not be required to use restroom facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do the same. However, individual-user options may be available to all students who voluntarily seek additional privacy or choose to use them.
  2. A transgender student will not be subjected to requirements that rely on overly broad generalizations or stereotypes about differences between transgender students and other students of the same gender identity in regards to sex-segregated athletic teams. However, age-appropriate, tailored requirements based on competitive skill, sound, current, and research-based medical knowledge about the impact of the students’ participation on the competitive fairness or physical safety of the sport may be considered.
  3. A transgender student will have access to housing consistent with their gender identity and will not be required to stay in single-occupancy accommodations or to disclose personal information when not required of other students. However, this Policy will honor a student’s voluntary request for single-occupancy accommodations, where possible under the requirements of the housing policy and procedure. 

This Policy requires that reasonable steps be taken to protect a students’ privacy related to their transgender status, including their birth name or sex assignment at birth. Therefore, nonconsensual disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII), where such disclosure may be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy, could violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). As a result, records involving PII about a student’s transgender status will be kept confidential in the same way as other medically-sensitive confidential information.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, physical, demonstrative, or electronic conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:

  1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or educational experience; or 
  2. Submission or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for a decision regarding an employment, academic, or other College-related activity affecting such individual; or
  3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or participation in a College program, department or extra-curricular activity; or
  4. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, learning, studying, or school environment.

Sexual harassment may occur in a single incident or consist of a series of incidents. It can occur between any two people covered by this Policy, including, but not limited to, two faculty or staff members, a faculty or staff member and a student, two students, a group and an individual, people of the same or different gender, or people of the same or unequal status or power. Examples of conduct which may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: verbal comments of an overtly sexual nature, whether in the form of jokes, innuendoes, slurs, or other statements; the use of sexual teaching materials or comments of a sexual nature not relevant to the material being taught or any other academic purpose; remarks of a sexual nature about an individual’s clothing or body; remarks speculating about an individual’s sexual orientation, activity or previous sexual experiences; verbal harassment or abuse of a sexual nature; making offensive gender-based remarks; the display or transmission of sexually offensive objects, photographs, drawings, graffiti, email, electronic social media communications, computer graphics or programs when sexual content is not relevant to any academic purpose; non-verbal behaviors of a sexually degrading or offensive nature, such as gesturing, or leering; unwanted touching, hugging, or brushing against an individual’s body; requests, demands or persistent pressure for sexual favors, particularly when accompanied by an offer of rewards or threats of retaliation concerning work, grades, promotions, tenure or any other academic or College-related decision; and sexual abuse/assault (“sexual violence”).

Sexual Assault
Sexual Assault is any nonconsensual sexual act prohibited by law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent. Sexual assault includes:

  • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: Any intentional sexual touching, however slight and with any object or body part, that is without affirmative consent (as defined below) and/or by threat, intimidation, coercion, duress, violence, or by causing a reasonable fear of harm. This includes intentional contact with breasts, buttocks, groin, mouth, or genitals, as well as any other intentional bodily contact that occurs in a sexual manner.
  • Rape: The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, forcibly or without affirmative consent or where the victim is incapable of affirmative consent due to mental or physical incapacity. Statutory rape is non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. In Illinois, the statutory age of consent is 17 years old.

Affirmative Consent (“Consent”)
Affirmative Consent is defined as a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. This definition does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

  • Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act;
  • Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol;
  • Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time;
  • Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated (as hereafter described);
  • Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm; and
  • When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.

Children under 17 years of age cannot legally consent under Illinois State Law to having sex or sexual contact with an adult (i.e., someone who is 17 years of age or older). Any sexual contact in Illinois between a child under 17 and an adult is a crime, and any such illegal behavior between a MacCormac College student under 17 and a College employee or employee of a contracted service provider to the College will be reported to an appropriate law enforcement agency.

Incapacitation
Incapacitation occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.

Evaluating incapacitation requires an assessment of an individual's:

  • Decision-making ability;
  • Awareness of consequences;
  • Ability to make informed judgments;
  • Capacity to appreciate the nature and the quality of the act and level of consciousness.

An individual who engages in sexual activity with someone the individual knows or reasonably should know is incapable of making a knowing, reasonable decision about whether to engage in sexual activity is in violation of this Policy.

Alcohol and Other Drugs
In general, sexual contact while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs poses a risk to all parties. Alcohol and drugs impair a person’s ability to provide affirmative consent, awareness of the consequences, and ability to make informed judgments. It is especially important, therefore, that anyone engaging in sexual activity be aware of the other person’s level of intoxication. If there is any doubt as to the level or extent of the other individual’s intoxication or impairment, the prudent course of action is to forgo or cease any sexual contact or activity.

Being intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol is never an excuse for sexual misconduct and does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain affirmative consent.

Stalking
Stalking refers to engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her own safety or the safety of others, or to suffer substantial emotional distress (i.e., significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling). Such a course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, any actions directed at another person, whether done directly, indirectly or through others, via the telephone, electronic devices or any other means of communication, to follow, monitor, observe, surveil, threaten, communicate to or about a person or interfere with the person’s property. Stalking may include contact through a third party.

Examples of conduct that may constitute prohibited stalking include, but are not limited to: unwelcome/unwanted communications of any type, including face-to-face, telephone calls, voice messages, e-mail, text messages, postings, written letters or notes and unwanted gifts; use of threatening words or conduct; pursuing or following; observing and/or surveillance; trespassing or vandalism; entering or remaining on or near a person’s property, residence, classroom, place of employment or any other location where the person is present; interfering with or damaging a person’s property, including pets; and engaging in other unwelcome contact.

Dating Violence
Dating violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Identification of a dating partner, and the existence of a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature constituting a dating relationship, shall be determined based on consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic Violence
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, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts. Examples of conduct that may constitute, whether alone or in combination, domestic violence include, but are not limited to: a pattern of name-calling, insults, put-downs; keeping or limiting a person from contacting family or friends; withholding money, food or other necessities; stopping a person from getting or keeping a job, getting to class, or staying in school; actual or threatened physical harm; sexual abuse/assault (“sexual violence”); stalking; possessiveness or extreme jealousy; intimidation; physical assault or threats thereof; and emotional isolation/manipulation.