Protect & Respect Our Scots

State Law & Definitions

It’s important to understand what constitutes a violation of the college’s non-discrimination policy. While not a complete list, below are some important terms within our policy.

Consent

Knowing, voluntary and clear permission—by word or action—to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Because individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct.

A person cannot consent if he or she is unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep or unconscious for any reason, including the use of alcohol or other drugs. An individual who engages in sexual activity when he or she knows or should know that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has violated this policy.

Sexual Misconduct

An umbrella term that encompasses all acts of sexual assault, incidents of intimate partner violence, stalking and harassment.

Intimate Partner Violence 

Violence between those in an intimate relationship with each other on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class. This includes romantic relationships, dating, domestic and/or relationship violence.

Harassment

Unwelcome conduct on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class by any member or group of the community. Harassment can escalate and create a hostile environment. A hostile environment may be created by oral, written, graphic or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent/pervasive and objectively offensive that it interferes with, limits or denies the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities or employment access, benefits or opportunities.

Sexual Harassment

Unwelcome sexual or gender-based verbal, written, graphic or physical conduct. It creates a hostile environment when it is sufficiently severe, persistent/pervasive and objectively offensive that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, denying or limiting employment opportunities or the ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational, social and/or residential program. It can be based on power differentials, the creation of a hostile environment and/or retaliation.

Stalking

A course of conduct directed at a specific person on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class that is unwelcome and would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Non-consensual Sexual Contact

Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object by a person upon another person that is without consent and/or by force. Sexual contact includes any bodily contact with the breasts, groin, genitals, mouth or other bodily orifice of another individual or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.

Non-consensual Sexual Intercourse

Any sexual penetration or intercourse (anal, oral or vaginal), however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person that is without consent and/or by force. Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger or object or oral copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact.

Discriminatory Harassment

Unwelcome conduct on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class, by any member or group of the community

Protected Class

The protected classes under Alma College Policy are; race, color, sex, religion, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, age, height, weight, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, arrest record, genetic information, or any other protected category under applicable local, state or federal laws.

Power Differential

Any situation where one individual has authority over another individual’s employment, grades, career, academic or other college-sponsored opportunities, particularly when professional supervision and evaluation are part of the relationship. While not an exhaustive list, a few examples include:

  • Faculty and students, 
  • Teaching assistants and students in their class,
  • Coaches and student athletes,
  • Department directors and employees in their sector (for instance, a Hall Director dating an RA)
  • Supervisors and individuals who report to them
Hostile Environment

Created by oral, written, graphic, or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent/pervasive, and objectively offensive that it interferes with, limits, or denies the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities or employment access, benefits or opportunities.