Definition of Consent

Voluntary, informed, uncoerced agreement through words and/or actions freely given, which a reasonable person would interpret as a willingness to participate in mutually agreed-upon sexual acts. Consensual sexual activity happens when each partner willingly and affirmatively chooses to participate.

Indications that consent is not present include:

  • When physical force is used or there is a reasonable belief of the threat of physical force, including when one person overcomes the physical limitations of another person.
  • When coercion is present. Coercion means the improper use of pressure to compel another individual to initiate or continue sexual activity against the individual’s will. Coercion may include intimidation, manipulation, and/or blackmail. Words or conduct may constitute coercion if they wrongfully impair another individual’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether to engage in sexual activity.
  • When a person is incapable of making an intentional decision to participate in a sexual act, which could include instances in which the person is in a state of incapacitation, which could be permanent or temporary. Evaluations of capacity will be viewed in hindsight using a reasonable person standard.

Important points regarding consent include:

  • Consent to one act does not constitute consent to another act.
  • Consent on a prior occasion does not constitute consent on a subsequent occasion.
  • The existence of a prior or current relationship does not, in itself, constitute consent.
  • Consent can be withdrawn or modified at any time.
  • Consent is not implicit in a person’s manner of dress.
  • Accepting a meal, a gift, or an invitation for a date does not imply or constitute consent.
  • A person’s lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission resulting from the use or threat of force does not constitute consent.
  • Silence and passivity do not necessarily constitute consent.
  • Initiation by someone who a reasonable person knows or should have known to be deemed incapacitated is not consent.
  • A person’s consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not constitute consent to engage in sexual activity with another.

A person cannot consent to sexual activity if that person is unable to understand the nature of the activity or give knowing consent due to circumstances, including without limitation when a person is incapacitated or not of legal age.

A person who is asleep or unconscious is considered incapacitated and unable to consent.  Additionally, a person may be incapacitated due to a temporary or permanent mental or physical disability.

In the context of this policy, incapacitation is the state in which a person’s perception or judgment is so impaired that he or she lacks the cognitive capacity to make or act on conscious decisions. The use of drugs or alcohol can cause incapacitation, which is a state beyond mere intoxication. An individual who is incapacitated is unable to consent to a sexual activity. Engaging in sexual activity with an individual who is incapacitated (and therefore unable to consent), where a person knows or ought reasonably to have understood that the individual is incapacitated, constitutes Sexual Misconduct and is a violation of this Policy.


Any person may report an incident of Sexual Misconduct as defined by this policy however, employees must report it. UST encourages anyone who experiences or becomes aware of Sexual Misconduct to immediately contact one of the options listed below including law enforcement, school administrators and confidential options. Reports may be made by the person who experienced the Sexual Misconduct or by a third party, including, but not limited to, a friend, family member, advisor, or professor. Reports to the Title IX Coordinator(s) may be made in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information listed below, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator(s) receiving the person’s verbal or written report. Such a report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours) by using the listed telephone number or electronic mail address, or by physical mail to the office address.

A Complainant may pursue some or all of these reporting options at the same time (e.g., one may simultaneously pursue a Formal Resolution Process with the University and a criminal complaint). When initiating any report, a Complainant does not need to know whether they wish to request any particular course of action, nor how to label what happened. Before or during any grievance process, Complainants and other reporting persons are encouraged to consult a Confidential Resource.

Confidential Reporting Options 

Several campus professionals are designated Confidential Resources. An individual who is not prepared to make a report, or who may be unsure how to label what happened, but still seeks information and support, is strongly encouraged to contact a Confidential Resource.

Upon receipt of a report from a Complainant, a campus Confidential Resource will provide information on the following:

Possible next steps regarding the Complainant’s reporting options and possible outcomes, including without limitation reporting pursuant to the University resolution processes and local law enforcement

Student services available on campus and through community-based resources, including without limitation sexual assault crisis centers, medical treatment facilities, counseling services, legal resources, medical forensic services, and mental health services

The University’s responsibilities regarding orders of protection, no contact orders, or similar lawful orders issued by the higher education institution or a criminal or civil court

Liaise as requested and appropriate with campus officials, law enforcement and community-based resources including assisting with supportive measures.