Sexual Misconduct Offenses - Definitions

Quick Escape Button

For this policy, the term “Sexual Misconduct” will denote all prohibited sex and gender-based discrimination and harassment violations (to include, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and all other sexual offenses).


Bullying: repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control, or diminish another person, physically or mentally, that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the First Amendment.  The act of bullying often includes comments about race, color, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or disability and often involves an imbalance of power, aggression, and a negative, repeated behavior.  For purposes of this policy, incidents of bullying, which fall under sexual misconduct violations, are based on gender (e.g., sex, sexual orientation, genetic identity, gender expression, and genetic information).


Campus Security Authorities: UNCP employees who have a duty to promptly report any information or knowledge of a broad array of crimes to campus law enforcement or the Director of Title IX and Clery Compliance.  The report can be made via the Campus Security Authority Incident Report formCampus Security Authorities are listed on the Title IX and Clery Act Compliance website at


Coercion: unreasonable and unwanted pressure to engage in sexual activity.  Coercion includes, but is not limited to, threatening, cajoling and/or pressuring an individual into sexual activity.  Consent is not provided if coercion is present.


Consent: explicit approval and permission to engage in sexual activity demonstrated by clear actions, words, or writings.  Informed consent is freely and voluntarily given, it is mutually understood by all parties involved.  If coercion, intimidation, threats, and/or physical force are used, there is no consent.  If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that the person could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes conditions due to alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious, or under the age of legal consent, or unable to give consent under current law.  Silence does not constitute consent, and past consent to sexual activities does not imply ongoing future consent.  Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity.  Consent can be withdrawn at any time and requires an outward demonstration through understandable words or actions.  Consent is active, not passive.  Silence, moving away, crying, being asleep, passed out, confined, emotionally manipulated, coerced or intimidated is by this definition not consent.


Dating Violence: an act of violence, which causes harm or may cause harm to a dating partner.  This includes, but is not limited to, any unwanted touching or attempted unwanted touching.  The act of dating violence is committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the survivor.  Whether there was such a relationship will be gauged by its (a) length, (b) type, and (c) frequency of interaction.


Discrimination: any unlawful distinction, preference, or detriment to a student (or admission applicant) as compared to others that is based on that student’s Protected Status and that is sufficiently serious to unreasonably interfere with or limit that student’s ability to participate in, access, or benefit from educational programs, services, or activities (e.g., admission, academic standing, grades, assignments, or campus housing). 


Sex/gender-based Discrimination: unlawful distinction, preference, or detriment to a student (or admission applicant) as compared to others that is based on that student’s sex or gender.


Domestic Violence: an act of violence, which causes harm or may cause harm to a partner.  This includes, but is not limited to, any unwanted touching or attempted unwanted touching.  The act of domestic violence is committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of a survivor; by a person with whom the survivor shares a child in common; by a person who is cohabitating or has cohabitated with a survivor as a spouse or intimate partner; by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the survivor under the domestic and family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the act of violence occurred; or by any other person against an adult or youth survivor who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of North Carolina. 


Harassment ~ Sexual: unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, online, graphic, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostile conduct based on a person’s Protected Status, when such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it interferes with or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s education or work programs or activities.  Incidents of harassment related to sexual misconduct are based on gender (e.g., sex, sexual orientation, genetic identity, genetic expression, and genetic information).  Sexual Harassment may be subject to discipline when it takes the form of: 1) hostile environment; 2) quid pro quo harassment; and/or 3) retaliatory harassment.


Harassment ~ Hostile Environment: unwelcome conduct based on Protected Status that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive and objectively offensive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s educational, social, and/or residential programs, thereby creating an environment that a reasonable person in similar circumstances and with similar identities would find hostile, intimidating, or abusive.  An isolated incident, unless sufficiently severe, does not amount to Hostile Environment Harassment.


Harassment ~ Quid Pro Quo: unwelcome conduct based on Protected Statuswhere submission to or rejection of such conduct is used, explicitly or implicitly, as the basis for decisions affecting an individual’s education, employment, or participation in a University program or activity.


Harassment ~ Retaliation: a pattern of behavior(s) taken against an individual because of the individual’s participation in a protected activity that would discourage a reasonable person from engaging in the protected activity.  Protected activity includes an individual’s good faith: 1) participation in the reporting, investigation, or resolution of an alleged violation of this policy; or 2) opposition to policies, practices, or actions that the individual reasonably believes are in violation of this policy.  Retaliation may include intimidation, threats, coercion, or adverse employment or educational actions.  Retaliation may be found even when an underlying complaint made in good faith was not substantiated.  Retaliation may be committed by and/or toward the Responding Party, the Reporting Party, or any other individual or group of individuals.


Hazing: acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the hazing policy) that is based on that person’s Protected Status; incidents of hazing related to sexual misconduct violations  are based on gender (e.g., sex, sexual orientation, genetic identity, genetic expression, and genetic information).


Incapacitation: the physical and/or mental inability to make an informed rational judgment.  States of incapacitation include, without limitation, sleep, blackouts, and flashbacks.  Rather, incapacitation is determined by how the alcohol and/or drugs consumed affects a person’s decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences, and ability to make informed judgments.  The first question is whether the complainant was incapacitated; then the second question, whether the accused student knew, or a sober, reasonable person in the position of the accused student should have known, that the complainant was incapacitated.  Being intoxicated or drunk is never a defense to a complaint of sexual misconduct under this policy.


Intimidation: implied threats or acts that cause fear of harm in another.


Protected Status: a characteristic of a person, which cannot be targeted for discrimination:  race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, genetic identity, genetic information,  genetic expression, national origin, age, disability, and veteran status.  For purposes of this policy, protected status is based on sex/gender-based classifications (e.g., sex, sexual orientation, genetic identity, genetic information, and genetic expression).


Reporting Party: any person who may have been the subject of any sexual misconduct offense by an individual or organization regardless of whether the Reporting Party makes a complaint or a third party, on the behalf of a victim, makes a complaint of a potential sexual misconduct offense.  This person may also be identified as “complainant,” “victim,” and/or “survivor.”


Responding Party: any person or organization who has been accused of violating this policy.  This person or organization may also be identified as “respondent,” “accused,” and/or “perpetrator.”


Responsible Employee: designated UNCP employees with a duty to promptly report (as soon as practical) any information or knowledge of a sexual misconduct to the Title IX coordinator or Deputy Title IX coordinators.  Responsible Employees are listed on the Title IX and Clery Compliance website at


Sexual assault: the sexual exploitation, forcible penetration, or an act of sexual contact on the body of another person, male or female, without his or her consent; anal or vaginal penetration of another individual against that person’s will and/or without that persons consent; any oral penetration of another individual by a sexual organ against that persons will and/or without that persons consent; or any insertion of another individuals genitals into ones mouth, anus, or vagina against that persons will and/or without that persons consent.  Sexual Assault may include any involuntary sexual act in which a person is threatened, coerced, or forced to engage in against his or her will or while temporarily or permanently incapacitated.  Sexual assault may be committed by a stranger or by a person known by the victim, including persons who are married or in a dating relationship with the victim.  Acts defined as sexual assault include rape, date rape, acquaintance rape, and gang rape, but may also include sexual touching of another person against his or her will or without consent, and forcing an unwilling person to touch another person sexually.  Non-consensual sexual intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.  Sexual assault occurs when sexual acts are committed without consent, either by force, threat, or intimidation, or through the use of the victim's mental or physical helplessness or incapacitation, of which the assailant was aware or should have reasonably been aware.


Sexual exploitation: non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one's own advantage or benefit or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited and, that behavior does not otherwise constitute rape, sexual assault, or sexual harassment.  Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to: prostituting another student, non-consensual video or audio recording of sexual activity, going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting friends surreptitiously watch self or others having consensual sex or unauthorized distribution of photos or other materials of a sexual nature), engaging in voyeurism, and inducing incapacitation with the intent to rape or sexually assault another person or with the intent to create opportunity for a third party to rape or sexually assault another person.


Sexual Misconduct Policy Violations: any code of conduct violation based on the alleged victim’s sex/gender-based Protected Status, which is severe enough to cause a discriminatory effect.  Examples of Sexual Misconduct Policy violations include inequity of gender found in cases of sexual harassment, sex/gender-based discrimination, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, sex-based bullying, and stalking.


Sexual Violence: sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim's use of drugs or alcohol.  An individual also may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability.  A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.  All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment covered under Title IX.


Stalking: engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific individual that may cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or, (b) suffer substantial emotional distress.  Acts of stalking include, but are not limited to, following another person, telephone calls, email and/or other electronic messages, meeting at classes or places of residence, and written and electronic notes or letters.


Other sexual offenses: obscene or indecent behavior, which include, but is not limited to, exposure of one's sexual organs without physically contacting the victim or the display of sexual behavior that would reasonably be offensive to others.