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Sexual Misconduct Definitions

The U.S. Department of Education's Title IX Final Rule and System Procedure 19-60 provide the definitions upon which the sexual misconduct resolution process is based:

What is Coercion?What is Consent?What is Discrimination?What is Force?What is Harassment?What constitutes a Hostile Environment?What is Incapacitation?What does Jurisdiction mean in this process?What is Sexual Misconduct?What is Sexual Harassment?What constitutes Sexual Assault?What constitutes Rape?What is Dating Violence?What is Domestic Violence?What is Stalking?What is Sexual Exploitation?What are other civil rights offenses covered by SP 19-60?What are Supportive Measures?


Coercion, in the context of Sexual Misconduct, is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When a person makes it objectively clear that they do not want to engage in sexual activity, 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.


Consent for sexual activity must be clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions demonstrate permission, based on an objective standard, regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity. Further, consent to any one form of sexual activity does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity. Previous sexual activity or prior consent do not imply consent to future sexual acts. The consideration of prior, irrelevant sexual conduct, except relating to a prior relationship or history between the parties if relevant to some material issue in the process, is prohibited.


Discrimination is any distinction, preference, advantage, or detriment given to a person based on one or more actual or perceived protected classes.


Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to engage in sexual activity. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcomes resistance.


Harassment is a form of Discrimination that includes Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment.

Hostile Environment

Hostile Environment occurs when a person is subjected to verbal or physical conduct based on a protected class that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive, and objectively offensive to alter the conditions of a person’s employment or unreasonably interfere with a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from PPSC educational programs or activities, from both a subjective and objective viewpoint.


Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent. Incapacitation could result from mental or physical disability, sleep, unconsciousness, involuntary physical restraint, being underage, or from the ingestion of drugs or alcohol.

Sexual activity with someone whom one should know to be—or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be—mentally or physically incapacitated, is a form of Sexual Misconduct.

Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense to a violation of SP 19-60.


Jurisdiction applies to behaviors that take place on a PPSC campus, at PPSC sponsored events, and may also apply to off-campus and online behavior when the Title IX/EO Coordinator determines that the off-campus or online behavior affects a substantial PPSC interest.

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct is a type of prohibited discrimination based on sex and includes, but is not limited to: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Rape, Dating Violence , Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Sexual Exploitation. 

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment, which may be in the form of Hostile Environment, Quid Pro Quo, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence or Stalking, as those terms are defined in SP 19-60.

SP 19-60

Sexual Assault

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact/Sexual Assault (or attempts to commit same), which is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any body part or object, by any individual upon any individual, that is performed without consent. Sexual touching 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. Sexual assault also includes any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by federal or state law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.


Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse/Rape (or attempts to commit same), which is any sexual penetration, no matter how slight, with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without consent.

Dating 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 victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. There is no Colorado state law on dating violence; therefore, PPSC abides by the definition used in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2013.

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2013

Dating Violence is violence and abuse committed by a person to exert power and control over a current or former dating partner.

Dating violence often involves a pattern of escalating violence and abuse over a period of time. Dating violence covers a variety of actions, and can include physical abuse, physiological and emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. It can also include “digital abuse”, the use of technology, such as smartphones, the internet, or social media, to intimidate, harass, threaten, or isolate a victim.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence includes any act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. Domestic Violence also includes any other crime against a person or property, including an animal or any municipal ordinance violation against a person, or against property, including an animal, when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge directed against a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. C.R.S. 18-6-800.3. Domestic violence further includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of Colorado, or 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 Colorado.

C.R.S. 18-6-800.3

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship that is used by one partner to maintain power and control over another current or former intimate partner.

Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behavior that intimidates, manipulates, humiliates, isolates, frightens, terrorizes, coerces, threatens, hurts, injures, or wounds someone.


Stalking is directly or indirectly through another person, is knowingly:

C.R.S. 18-3-602

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited.

Examples include invasion of sexual privacy, prostituting another person, non-consensual recording of sexual activity, going beyond the boundaries of consent, engaging in voyeurism, knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection or disease to another, exposing one’s genitals or inducing another to expose their genitals, possession or viewing of pornography on PPSC property or at PPSC activities, or sexually based bullying.

Other Civil Rights Offenses

Other Civil Rights Offenses include, but are not limited to, the following, when the act is based upon one or more actual or perceived protected classes:

System Procedure 19-10, Bullying/Violence/Firearms on Campus

Supportive Measures

Supportive Measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or the Respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to educational and employment programs and/or activities without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the educational/employment environment, or deter sexual harassment. Supportive measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures. PPSC will maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the Complainant or Respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of PPSC to provide the supportive measures. The Title IX/EO Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures.