Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Assault

Sexual misconduct of any kind is inconsistent with the University’s values and incompatible with the safe, healthy environment that the Notre Dame community expects. All members of this community share responsibility for creating and maintaining an environment which promotes the safety and dignity of each individual. The most egregious form of sexual misconduct is sexual assault, which is an affront to justice that will not be tolerated at Notre Dame. Federal law views sexual misconduct and sexual assault as forms of sexual harassment prohibited under Title IX.  Sexual assault also violates state law as well as University policy. Students found responsible for sexual misconduct or sexual assault will ordinarily face outcomes up to and including dismissal from the University.
Sexual misconduct offenses that are prohibited are:

  • Non-consensual sexual intercourse, which is any sexual intercourse by any person upon another without consent. It includes oral, anal and vaginal penetration, to any degree, with any object. It is referred to as “sexual assault” in this policy.
  • Non-consensual sexual contact, which is any sexual touching with any object, by any person upon another, without consent. Sexual touching is contact of a sexual nature, however slight.
  • Other forms of sexual misconduct include, but are not limited to:
    • Indecent Exposure
    • Sexual exhibitionism
    • Sex-based cyber-harassment
    • Prostitution or the solicitation of a prostitute
    • Peeping or other voyeurism
    • Going beyond the boundaries of consent, e.g., by allowing others to view consensual sex or the non-consensual video or audiotaping of sexual activity.

Consent means informed, freely given agreement, communicated by clearly understandable words or actions, to participate in each form of sexual activity. Consent cannot be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance.  A current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. By definition, there is no consent when there is a threat of force or violence or any other form of coercion or intimidation, physical or psychological. A person who is the object of sexual aggression is not required to physically or otherwise resist the aggressor; the lack of informed, freely given consent to sexual contact constitutes sexual misconduct.

Intoxication is not an excuse for failure to obtain consent.

An incapacitated person is incapable of giving consent.  A person is incapacitated if that person is in a physical or mental state such that he or she lacks the ability to make a knowing and deliberate choice to engage in the sexual interaction.  For the purposes of this policy, a person who is asleep or unconscious is incapacitated, without exception.  A person may also become incapacitated due to other factors, which may include the use of alcohol and/or drugs to such a degree that the person no longer has the ability to make a knowing or deliberate choice to engage in the sexual interaction.  When the question of whether the complainant was incapacitated is at issue, the perspective of a sober, reasonable person in the position of the respondent will be the basis for determining whether the respondent should have known that the complainant was incapacitated and thus incapable of giving consent. 

More information about Sexual Misconduct and procedures in place at the University