Title IX – Definitions


Actual Knowledge: Notice of Sexual Harassment or allegations of Sexual Harassment to a University’s Title IX Coordinator or Associate Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students. Imputation of knowledge based solely on vicarious liability or constructive notice is insufficient to constitute Actual Knowledge. This standard is not met when the only official of the University with Actual Knowledge is the Respondent. The mere ability or obligation to report Sexual Harassment or to inform a Student about how to report Sexual Harassment, or having been trained to do so, does not qualify an individual as one who has authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the University. “Notice” includes a report of Sexual Harassment to the Title IX Coordinator or the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students.

Appointee: An individual deemed to have an affiliation with the university in a non-compensatory capacity as designated in the applicable Human Resources Information System.

Child Molesting: A person at least 18 years of age who, with a child under 14 years of age, performs or submits to sexual intercourse or sexual conduct, or performs or submits to any fondling or touching for the purpose of sexually gratifying either person.

Complainant: Any person who is reported to have experienced conduct prohibited by this policy, regardless of whether that individual makes a report or participates in the review of that report by the university, and regardless of whether that person is a member of the University Community.

Consent: Permission that is clear, knowing, voluntary, and expressed prior to engaging in and during an act. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as Consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.

A. Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply Consent to any other forms of sexual activity.

B. Consent may be withdrawn at any time.

C. Previous relationships or prior Consent cannot imply Consent to future sexual acts; this includes “blanket” Consent (i.e., permission in advance for any/all actions at a later time/place).

D. Consent cannot be given by an individual who one knows to be – or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be – substantially impaired (e.g., by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness, etc.).

    • Substantial impairment is a state when an individual cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing Consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction).
    • This also covers individuals whose substantial impairment results from other physical or mental conditions including mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the consumption of alcohol or other drugs.
    • Being impaired by alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this policy.

E. It is the obligation of the person initiating the sexual activity to obtain Consent.

F. An individual cannot Consent who has been coerced, including being compelled by force, threat of force, or deception; who is unaware that the act is being committed, or who is coerced by a supervisory or disciplinary authority.

    • Force: violence, compulsion, or constraint; physically exerted by any means upon or against a person.
    • Coercion: the application of pressure by the Respondent that unreasonably interferes with the Complainant’s ability to exercise free will. Factors to be considered include, but are not limited to, the intensity and duration of the conduct.

G. A person who does not want to Consent to sex is not required to resist or verbally object.

H. Withdrawal of Consent can be manifested through conduct and need not be a verbal withdrawal of Consent (i.e. crying, pulling away, pushing away, not actively participating, laying there, uncomfortable or upset facial expression).

I. Consent may not be given by an individual who has not reached the legal age of Consent under applicable law.

Decision Maker: The adjudicator(s) who oversee(s) any hearing which takes place as part of the resolution process. The Complainant and accused individual will be asked if they have a preference for an administrative hearing with one (1) hearing officer trained to hear cases involving Sexual Harassment or a hearing by a University hearing panel of three (3) University employees trained to hear cases involving Sexual Harassment. The preferences of the parties will be taken into consideration; however, the Title IX Coordinator will make a final determination of the type of hearing conducted based on the preferences of the parties and the seriousness of the allegations.

Employee: An individual employed by USF for compensation, paid through payroll and listed as a W-2 employee.

Formal Complaint: A document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that the school investigate the allegation of sexual harassment.

Incapacitation: A state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).

  • This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from a mental and/or a physical disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of rape drugs. Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketomine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student is a violation of this policy. More information on these drugs can be found at http://www.911rape.org/.
  • Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this policy.
  • The sexual orientation and/or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity is not relevant to allegations under this policy.

Investigator: An individual assigned by the Title IX Coordinator to investigate the alleged Sexual Harassment and oversee the investigative hearing.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any body part or object, by any individual upon another that is without Consent and/or by force or coercion.

Sexual contact includes: intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts or object, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth, or other orifice.

Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration: Any sexual penetration, however slight, with any body part or object, by any individual upon another that is without Consent and/or by force or coercion.

Sexual penetration includes: vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact); no matter how slight the penetration or contact.

Relationship Violence: A broad term that encompasses Domestic Violence and Dating Violence.

Domestic Violence: Conduct that would meet the definition of a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by the Complainant’s current or former spouse or intimate partner, a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common, a person who is or has cohabitated with the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, or individual similarly situated to a spouse under domestic or family violence law, or anyone else protected under the domestic or family violence law of the jurisdiction in which the offense occurred. An individual need not be charged with or convicted of a criminal offense to be found responsible for Domestic Violence pursuant to this policy.

Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person—

A. who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and

B. where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

    • The length of the relationship
    • The type of relationship
    • The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship

 Respondent: Any member of the University Community who is reported to have engaged in conduct prohibited by this policy.

Retaliation: Any adverse employment or educational action taken against a person because of the person’s participation in a complaint or investigation of discrimination or Sexual Harassment.

Sexual Harassment:

 A. An employee of the recipient conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;

B. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, AND objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity;


C. Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, or All such acts constitute of Sexual Harassment under this policy.

Sexual Violence: Sexual acts perpetrated without Consent.

Sexual Assault: Non-Consensual Sexual Contact and Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration

Sexual Exploitation: Occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for that individual’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the individual being exploited. Examples of Sexual Exploitation include, but are not limited to:

A. Engaging in voyeurism;

B. Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals;

C. Going beyond the boundaries of Consent (e.g., letting others hide in a closet to watch you having consensual sex);

D. Invasion of sexual privacy;

E. Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) to another;

F. Non-consensual pictures, video-, or audio-recording of sexual activity, or the non-consensual distribution of such material;

G. Possession, use, and/or distribution of alcohol or other drug (e.g., Xanax, Ambien, Benadryl, Rohypnol (“Roofies”), Ketamine, GHB, etc.) for the purpose of engaging in or facilitating any activity prohibited under this policy;

H. Prostituting another.

Sexual Misconduct with a Minor: A person at least 18 years of age who, with a child at least 14 years of age but less than 16 years of age, performs or submits to sexual intercourse or sexual conduct, or performs or submits to any fondling or touching for the purpose of sexually gratifying either person.

Stalking: A course of conduct directed at a specific individual that would cause a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the Complainant to fear for their own or others’ safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress. A course of conduct includes two or more acts, including but not limited to, those in which the alleged perpetrator directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about the Complainant, or interferes with the Complainant’s property.

Student: An individual to whom an offer of admission has been extended, paid an acceptance fee, registered for classes, or otherwise entered into another agreement with the university to take instruction. Student status lasts until an individual graduates, is permanently dismissed, or is not in attendance for two complete, consecutive terms, and includes those with a continuing educational relationship with the university; “Student” also includes registered Student organizations. A Student organization remains a “Student” for purposes of this policy for one calendar year following the expiration of the organization’s most recent registration.

The university reserves the right to administer this policy and proceed with any process provided by this policy even if the Student withdraws from the university, is no longer enrolled in classes, or subsequently fails to meet the definition of a Student while a disciplinary matter is pending.

Supportive Measures: Individualized services reasonably available that are non-punitive, non-disciplinary, and not unreasonably burdensome to the other party while designed to ensure equal educational access, protect safety, or deter sexual harassment.

Title IX Coordinator: The designated university official with primary responsibility for coordinating the university’s compliance with Title IX. This individual provides leadership for Title IX activities; offers consultation, education, and training; and helps to ensure that the university responds appropriately, effectively, and equitably to all Title IX issues.

University Community: Faculty, staff, Students, student employees, graduate associates, Appointees, volunteers, suppliers/contractors, and visitors.


  • Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
  • Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of gender;
  • Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another;
  • Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the University community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the Hazing Policy);
  • Bullying, defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally;
  • Violence between those in an intimate relationship to each other;
  • Stalking, defined as repetitive and/or menacing pursuit, following, harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of a member of the community; or the safety of any of the immediate family of members of the community.