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Get Educated

Azusa Pacific has zero tolerance for sexual abuse and violence. Get informed and help us prevent abuse by understanding APU’s policies and definitions, including what constitutes affirmative consent.

It's On Us - Azusa Pacific University

Create a Safer Campus by Understanding What Constitutes Sexual Assault

The National Institute of Justice finds that one in five college women (and one in 16 men) will experience some form of non-consensual sexual activity by graduation. The widespread impact of sexual violence on students presents an urgent, pressing challenge for our nation’s campuses.

To combat this challenge, Azusa Pacific University has joined with many top national institutions in adopting “Haven – Understanding Sexual Assault” to address this critical issue. Haven is a thoughtful, educational program that encourages adults to think about their choices. This online training program is a requirement for every incoming student. Please note all survey responses collected as a part of the online training are strictly confidential. APU will only receive information about the student body as a whole and will never see any individual student’s answers.



Definitions of terms used in this policy, including but not limited to “affirmative consent,” “complainant,” ”domestic and dating violence,” “nonconsensual sexual contact,” “nonconsensual sexual intercourse,” “sexual harassment,” “respondent,” “Mandated Responsible Employee,” “sex discrimination,” “sexual assault,” “sexual coercion,” “sexual exploitation,” “sexual violence,” and “stalking,” are included in the “Sexual Harassment” Under Title IX, and Other Instances of Sexual Misconduct Policy (PDF).

Sexual misconduct offenses are sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, nonconsensual sexual contact (or attempts to commit same), nonconsensual sexual intercourse (or attempts to commit same), sexual coercion, sexual exploitation, domestic and dating violence, and stalking. These behaviors are strictly prohibited.

Affirmative consent means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity.

A complainant is any person who alleges to be the victim of sex discrimination, including but not limited to any act of sexual violence.

Dating violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant. The term “domestic violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the complainant, or by a person with whom the complainant shares a child in common, or by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the complainant as a spouse, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of California, or by any other person against an adult or youth complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

A mandated responsible employee is a university employee designated herein as having the obligation to report incidents of alleged sexual violence to the Title IX Coordinator. Mandated responsible employees include the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators, Residence Directors and other professional Residence Life staff, and any employee designated as a Campus Security Authority (see Campus Security Authority Policy, PO2013035) except as provided in the next sentence. Mandated responsible employees do not include campus mental-health counselors and psychologists, university pastoral counselors (campus pastors and university chaplains), social workers, health center employees, or any other person with a professional license requiring confidentiality as part of their role on campus, or who is supervised by such person.

Nonconsensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman, without affirmative consent.

Nonconsensual sexual intercourse is any sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any object, by a man or woman upon a man or a woman, without affirmative consent.

A respondent is any individual who is alleged to have discriminated on the basis of sex as defined in this policy.

Sex discrimination is any behaviors and/or actions that deny or limit a person’s ability to benefit from, and/or fully participate in the educational programs or activities or employment opportunities based on an individual’s sex. Examples of sex discrimination include sexual harassment, sexual violence, failure to provide equal opportunity in employment, education programs and co-curricular programs including athletics, discrimination based on pregnancy, and employment discrimination.

Sexual assault is a general term that covers a broad range of inappropriate and/or unlawful conduct, including rape, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. As defined under California law, rape is nonconsensual sexual intercourse that involves the use or threat of force, violence, or immediate and unlawful bodily injury or threat of future retaliation and duress. Sexual battery includes the nonconsensual touching of a person’s intimate parts, or the clothing covering the immediate area of those parts, or forcing a person to touch another’s intimate parts.

Sexual coercion is the act of using pressure (including physical, verbal, or emotional pressure), alcohol, medications, drugs, or force to have sexual contact against someone’s will or with someone who has already refused.

Sexual exploitation occurs when an individual takes or attempts to take nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual harassment, stalking, and sexual violence offenses.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, such as sexual assault or acts of sexual violence, when one or more of the following criteria are met:

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the individual’s employment or of the individual’s status in a program, course or activity; or
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions, a criterion for evaluation, or a basis for academic decisions or other decisions which affect an individual; or
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance and/or educational experience and/or creating an intimidating, hostile, and/or offensive work and/or educational environment.

Sexual violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the person’s age or use of drugs or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the person from having the capacity to give consent). A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion. Sexual violence can be carried out by employees, other students, or third parties. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

Stalking is harassing or threatening another person to the point where that individual fears for his/her safety or the safety of his/her family. Stalking can occur in various forms including, but not limited to, in person and via electronic means (cyberstalking/cyberbullying). Stalking means to follow, pursue, or repeatedly commit acts with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person; and to place under surveillance with the intent to kill, injure, harass or intimidate another person; and in the course of, or as a result of, such following, pursuit, surveillance or repeatedly committed acts, to place a person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, or to cause substantial emotional harm to—that person; a member of the immediate family of that person; or the spouse or intimate partner of that person.

Understanding Affirmative Consent

Affirmative Consent Is Key

Affirmative consent means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity.

Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.

Affirmative consent may be given by words or actions unmistakable in meaning. In order to be effective, affirmative consent cannot be procured by use of physical force, compelling threats, intimidating behavior, or coercion. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another.

When someone makes clear to another person that they do not want sex, 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. In order to give affirmative consent for purposes of this policy, one must be of legal age.

In the evaluation of complaints of sexual violence under this policy, it is not a valid excuse to alleged lack of affirmative consent that the respondent believed that the complainant consented to the sexual activity under either of the following circumstances:

  • The respondent’s belief in affirmative consent arose from the intoxication or recklessness of the respondent, or
  • The respondent did not take reasonable steps, in the circumstances known to the respondent at the time, to ascertain whether the complainant affirmatively consented.

Affirmative consent will not be found to have been given when it is determined by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent knew or reasonably should have known that the complainant was unable to consent to the sexual activity because the complainant was either:

  • asleep,
  • unconscious,
  • incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication such that the complainant could not understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual activity, or
  • unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.

If an individual has sexual activity with someone known to be or should be known to be mentally or physically incapacitated (alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness, or blackout), he or she is in violation of this Sexual Harassment, Stalking, and Sexual Violence policy and may be in violation of the law. Any time sexual activity takes place between individuals, those individuals must be capable of controlling their physical actions and be capable of making rational, reasonable decisions about their sexual behavior.