Sexual Offenses, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Policy
Seattle University affirms respect, responsibility, and care between all persons. Conduct constituting domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or a sexual offense whether forcible or non-forcible such as non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation or sexual assault, will not be tolerated. Behavior of this nature is inconsistent with Seattle University values, and is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and this Sexual Offenses, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Policy (“Policy”). Students committing a sexual offense in any form can be prosecuted under the Washington State Criminal Code (RCW 9A) and/or disciplined under the Code of Student Conduct.
“Sexual offense” is a broad term that encompasses a range of behaviors including sexual assault, as well as other forms of misconduct or violence of a sexual nature, including, without limitation, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. A sexual offense can occur between individuals who know each other, have an established relationship, have previously engaged in consensual sexual activity, and between individuals who do not know each other. A sexual offense can be committed by persons of any sex, sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression.
“Dating Violence” is violence committed by a person (a) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (b) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) the length of the relationship; (ii) the type of relationship; and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
“Domestic Violence” is violence committed (a) by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; (b) by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; (c) by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; (d) by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred; or (e) by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.
“Stalking” is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (b) suffer substantial emotional distress.
“Sexual Assault” is any sexual penetration or sexual contact with another individual without consent.
What is Consent?
Consent is knowing, voluntary, and clear permission, through word or action, to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity or contact. Silence or lack of resistance alone does not constitute consent. Consent must be ongoing, and it may be withdrawn at any time. Consent to one form of sexual activity or contact does not imply consent to others, nor does past consent imply present or future consent. Consent to engage in sexual activity or contact with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity or contact with another person.
Consent cannot result from the use of coercion, intimidation, force, or threats. Consent cannot be obtained from an individual who is incapable of giving consent because the person:
Incapacitation is a state in which an individual is unable to make informed, rational decisions because they lack the capacity to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of a situation or interaction. Individuals cannot give consent if they cannot understand what is happening, or if they are disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious for any reason. That applies even if alcohol or drugs were voluntarily consumed.
Individuals who engage in sexual activity or contact who know or should have known that the other party is incapacitated are engaging in sexual misconduct. Physical indicators of incapacitation may include slurred speech, unsteady gait or stumbling, impaired coordination, unfocused or bloodshot eyes, vomiting, unresponsiveness, or, outrageous or unusual behavior.
[Under Washington law, consent means that at the time of sexual intercourse or sexual contact there are actual words or conduct indicating freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact. RCW 9A.44.010(7). For purposes of determining whether a violation of the Policy occurred, the University’s definition of consent will be used, not the state law definition.]
Where Can I File A Report?
Anyone who has experienced dating violence, domestic violence, stalking or a sexual offense is strongly urged to report it to University officials, local law enforcement or both. Reports to University officials may be directed to:
What Happens If I Report?
When you report a sexual offense, an incident of dating violence or domestic violence, or stalking, University officials will inform you in writing of your rights, options and the resources available to you. You will receive an explanation of how to file a complaint with local law enforcement if you choose and how Public Safety can assist you with that process; the University policy and procedures for sexual offense complaints; interim actions and measures that may be available to you; and information about the importance of preserving evidence for proof of criminal sexual offenses or for obtaining a protective order.
If you report to Public Safety, Public Safety will notify University officials who have a need to know, they will collect information in an impartial manner and will help to preserve relevant evidence. The steps Public Safety takes may vary depending on the circumstances and your needs.
What Are Possible Interim Actions And Measures?
Appropriate interim actions and measures are determined on a case-by-case basis, and may include, but are not limited to the following: issuing a no-contact order, changing classes, assigning an individual to a different lab or other clinical setting, and reorganizing housing assignments.
Will My Report Be Confidential?
The University will treat information it receives as part of University reporting procedures as confidential to the extent permitted. That means that only those within the University with a legitimate need to know will have knowledge of the victim’s name and what occurred. If requested by the victim and to the extent possible, the name of the individual who experienced the sexual offense, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking will not be disclosed. Any warnings required to alert the campus community to security and safety threats will not include the victim’s name. If the University decides its obligation to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students requires it to proceed in a way that may allow the victim’s identity to be known, the University will inform any student who has requested their personally identifiable information not be revealed that it cannot ensure confidentiality.
What If I’m Afraid of Retaliation?
Retaliation because a person has filed a good faith complaint alleging a sexual offense, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking or participated in an investigation or other related procedure related to such a complaint is strictly prohibited. The University will respond promptly to investigate any claims of retaliation.
Examples of retaliation include, but are not limited to: harassment or bullying by the accused student or the accused student’s friends or peer group; pressure on the complaining student to drop the complaint; making a negative education decision against a person who has filed a complaint; or threatening a person with physical harm or legal action. Anyone who engages in the above conduct may be found responsible for retaliation and sanctions imposed.
Any person who believes he or she has been the target of retaliation may file a complaint with: