Policies

IV. Definitions of Prohibited Conduct

A. Discrimination

As described in Central’s Welcome Statement (Nondiscrimination Policy) (accessed online at https://www.central.edu/about/welcome-statement/ ), the College does not discriminate against any employee, applicant for employment, student, or applicant for admission on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, disability, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, gender expression and identity, genetic information (for employees), or any other characteristic protected by law.

Any member of the Central community whose acts deny, deprive, or limit the educational or employment access, benefits, and/or opportunities of any member of the Central community, guest, or visitor on the basis of that person’s actual or perceived membership in the protected classes listed above is in violation of the College’s policy on nondiscrimination.

When brought to the attention of the College, any such discrimination will be promptly and fairly addressed and remedied by Central according to the appropriate resolution process described elsewhere in this Policy.

B. Discriminatory Harassment

Students and employees are entitled to an employment and educational environment that is free of discriminatory harassment. Central College’s harassment policy is not meant to inhibit or prohibit educational content or discussions inside or outside of the classroom that include germane, but controversial or sensitive, subject matters protected by academic freedom.

Discriminatory harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a class protected by policy or law, and which creates a “hostile environment.” Central College does not tolerate discriminatory harassment of any employee, student, visitor, or guest.

A hostile environment is one that unreasonably interferes with, limits, or effectively denies an individual’s educational or employment access, benefits, or opportunities. This discriminatory effect results from harassing verbal, written, graphic, or physical conduct that is severe or pervasive and objectively offensive.

When discriminatory harassment rises to the level of creating a hostile environment, Central may also impose sanctions on the Respondent through application of the appropriate resolution process below. The College also reserves the right to address offensive conduct and/or harassment that 1) does not rise to the level of creating a hostile environment, or 2) that is of a generic nature and not based on a protected status. Addressing such conduct may not result in the imposition of discipline under Central’s policy, but may be addressed through respectful conversation, remedial actions, education, effective Alternate Resolution, and/or other informal resolution mechanisms.

C. Sexual Harassment

Prohibited acts of sexual harassment may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity of those involved.
Sexual Harassment, as an umbrella category, includes the offenses below:

1. Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

a. Quid Pro Quo: An employee of Central College conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service upon an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
b. Hostile Environment: Unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the College’s education program or activity, including work;

2. Sexual Assault: One of the following offenses in which one has or attempts to have sexual contact or sexual penetration with another individual without their consent:

i. 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 without consent of the victim;
ii. Fondling: the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification without consent of the victim;
iii. Incest: sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law; or
iv. Statutory rape: sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
 

3. Dating Violence:

Violence committed by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with another. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

4. Domestic Violence: Felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by:

i. Current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
ii. Person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
iii. Person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
iv. Person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the laws of the State of Iowa or the jurisdiction in which the incident reported occurred; and
v. Any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s act under the laws of the State of Iowa.


5. Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct toward another person under circumstances that would reasonably cause a person to fear bodily injury to themselves or others or to experience substantial emotional distress.

As used in the offenses above, the following definitions and understandings apply:

Consent: Effective consent is informed, freely and actively given, mutually understandable words or actions which indicate a willingness/permission to engage in sexual activity, and specific sexual conduct. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced.

Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to determine that the other has consented before engaging in the activity.
Consent can also be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity should cease as soon as reasonably possible.

Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.

Consent is not effective if a party is incapacitated, or it results from the use of fraud, force, threats, intimidation, or coercion.

Force: Force is the use of physical violence and/or physical imposition to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that is intended to overcome resistance or produce consent (e.g., “Have sex with me or I’ll hit you,” “Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”). Sexual activity that is forced is, by definition, non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not necessarily forced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. Consent is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. While resistance is not required or necessary, it is a clear demonstration of non-consent.

Coercion: Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive conduct differs from seductive conduct based on factors such as the type and/or extent of the pressure used to obtain consent. When someone makes clear that they do not want to engage in certain sexual activity, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.

Incapacitation: Incapacitation occurs when someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction). Incapacitation can result from the use of alcohol or other controlled substances, or from mental or physical incapacity. Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual’s state and is not synonymous with intoxication, impairment, blackout, and/or being drunk.

It is a defense to a sexual assault policy violation that the Respondent neither knew nor should have known the Complainant to be incapacitated. “Should have known” is an objective, reasonable person standard which assumes that a reasonable person is both sober and exercising sound judgment.

D. Other Prohibited Offenses

In addition to the forms of discriminatory and sexual harassment described above, Central College additionally prohibits the following offenses as forms of discrimination/harassment when the act is based upon the Complainant’s actual or perceived membership in a protected class. In this section, the definition of “consent” is the same as defined above.

1. Sexual Exploitation, defined as: taking 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 conduct does not otherwise constitute sexual harassment under this Policy. Examples of Sexual Exploitation include, but are not limited to:

a. Sexual voyeurism (such as viewing another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s consent);
b. Invasion of sexual privacy;
c. Prostituting another person;
d. Recording images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness without that person’s consent;
e. Distributing images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, if the individual distributing the images or audio knows or should have known that the person depicted in the images or audio did not consent to such disclosure and objects to such disclosure, including the making or posting of revenge pornography;
f. Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or infection (STI) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to another individual without informing the other person of the infection;
g. Exposing one’s genitals to another when the exposing individual knows or should have known that the other person did not consent to such exposure and objects to such exposure; causing another to expose genitals without that person’s effective consent;
h. Causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person (through alcohol, drugs, or any other means) for the purpose of compromising that person’s ability to give consent to sexual activity, or for the purpose of making that person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity;
i. Misappropriating another person’s identity on apps, websites, or other venues designed for dating or sexual connections;
j. Forcing a person to take an action against that person’s will by threatening to show, post, or share information, video, audio, or an image that depicts the person’s nudity or sexual activity;
k. Knowingly soliciting a minor for sexual activity;
l. Engaging in sex trafficking;
m. Creating, possessing, or disseminating child pornography.


2. Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal, emotional, or psychological abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;

3. Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another;

4. Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the Central community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the Abusive Affiliation (Hazing) Policy at https://webapps.central.edu/policies/policy/221/);

5. Bullying, defined as: Repeated and/or severe unwelcome aggressive behavior that is likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control, or diminish another person, physically and/or mentally.

Violation of any other Central College policies may constitute prohibited conduct herein when a violation is motivated by actual or perceived membership in a protected class, and the result is a discriminatory limitation or denial of employment or educational access, benefits, or opportunities.

E. Retaliation

Retaliation occurs when an individual harasses or intimidates another person because that other person filed a complaint, participated in the resolution process of a violation of this Policy, supported a Complainant or Respondent, and/or acted in good faith to oppose conduct that constitutes a violation of this Policy. Harassment or intimidation includes but is not limited to threats or actual violence against the person or the person’s property, adverse educational or employment consequences, ridicule, taunting, bullying or ostracism. Retaliation is prohibited under this Policy and is expressly prohibited by Title VII, Title IX and other state and federal laws.

Charging an individual with a code of conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a resolution proceeding under this policy and procedure does not constitute retaliation, provided that a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party has made a materially false statement in bad faith.

Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator and will be promptly investigated. Central College is prepared to take appropriate steps to protect individuals who fear that they may be subjected to retaliation.