- General Conduct and Discipline
- Rules Governing Student Activities
Yale University is committed to maintaining and strengthening an educational, working, and living environment founded on civility and mutual respect. Sexual misconduct is antithetical to the standards and ideals of our community and will not be tolerated. Yale aims to eradicate sexual misconduct through education, training, clear policies, and serious consequences for violations of these policies. Sexual misconduct incorporates a range of behaviors including rape, sexual assault (which includes any kind of nonconsensual sexual contact), sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, stalking, and any other conduct of a sexual nature that is nonconsensual, or has the purpose or effect of threatening, intimidating, or coercing a person or persons. When there is a lack of mutual consent about sexual activity, or there is ambiguity about whether consent has been given, a student can be charged with, and found guilty of, committing a sexual assault or another form of sexual misconduct.
Much sexual misconduct includes nonconsensual sexual contact, but this is not a necessary component. Threatening speech that is sufficiently serious to constitute sexual harassment, for example, constitutes sexual misconduct. Photographs, video, or other visual or auditory records of sexual activity made without explicit consent constitute sexual misconduct, even if the activity documented was consensual. Similarly, sharing such recordings without explicit consent is a form of sexual misconduct. For example, forwarding a harassing electronic communication may constitute an offense.
Sexual misconduct also includes violations of Yale's Policy on Teacher-Student Consensual Relations.
The University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct (UWC) will formally and informally address allegations of sexual misconduct. Many forms of sexual misconduct are also prohibited by Connecticut and federal law, including Title IX of the education amendments of 1972, and could result in criminal prosecution or civil liability.
Sexual activity requires consent, which is defined as clear, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity. Consent cannot be inferred from the absence of a "no"; a clear "yes," verbal or otherwise, is necessary. Although consent does not need to be verbal, verbal communication is the most reliable form of asking for and gauging consent, and individuals are thus urged to seek consent in verbal form. Talking with sexual partners about desires and limits may seem awkward, but serves as the basis for positive sexual experiences shaped by mutual willingness and respect.
Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or some other condition. Consent cannot be obtained by threat, coercion, or force. Agreement given under such conditions does not constitute consent.
Consent must be clear and unambiguous for each participant throughout any sexual encounter. Consent to some sexual acts does not imply consent to others, nor does past consent to a given act imply ongoing or future consent. Consent can be revoked at any time. For all of these reasons, sexual partners must evaluate consent in an ongoing fashion and should communicate clearly with each other throughout any sexual encounter.
Sexual harassment is antithetical to academic values and to a work environment free from the fact or appearance of coercion. It is a violation of University policy and may result in serious disciplinary action. Sexual harassment consists of nonconsensual sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature on or off campus, when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual's employment or academic standing; or (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating or hostile academic or work environment. Sexual harassment may be found in a single episode, as well as in persistent behavior. Conduct that occurs in the process of application for admission to a program or selection for employment is covered by this policy, as well as conduct directed toward University students, faculty, or staff members. In addition, conduct by third parties (i.e., individuals who are neither students nor employees, including but not limited to guests and consultants) is covered by this policy. Both men and women are protected from sexual harassment, and sexual harassment is prohibited regardless of the sex of the harasser. Sexual harassment is a matter of particular concern to an academic community in which students, faculty, and staff are related by strong bonds of intellectual dependence and trust. If members of the faculty, whether professors or teaching fellows, or other Yale employees, introduce sex into a professional relationship with a student, they abuse their position of authority. See the University's Policy of Teacher-Student Consensual Relations.