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Important Definitions

Discrimination is unequal, adverse treatment of an individual because of his or her protected legal status, such as race, color, age, gender, national origin, or disability. Such discriminatory behavior violates the law and is contrary to Covenant College’s Statement of Purpose, and it will not be tolerated.


Harassment is unwelcome, hostile, or inappropriate conduct directed toward an individual because of his or her protected status (such conduct includes, but is not limited to, derogatory comments or slurs, unwelcome touching, insulting drawings, or jokes directed to an individual's race, color, age, gender, national origin, disability, or any other protected legal status). Such conduct violates the Statement of Purpose, College policy, and may violate the law if it (a) has the purpose or effect of creating a work, living, or study environment that a reasonable person might find intimidating, hostile, or offensive; or (b) threatens substantial interference with an individual's work, living, or study environment. To ensure that no employee or student is subjected to such harassment, Covenant College strictly prohibits any offensive or unwelcome physical, written, or spoken conduct regarding any person's race, color, age, gender, national origin, or disability.


Sexual harassment is one form of illegal harassment. It includes unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or acts, unwanted touching or intimacy, insulting or degrading sexual remarks or conduct, epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping based on gender, and the posting or display of sexually offensive or degrading materials on campus or any property owned by the College or at any College‐related function. Covenant College is committed to providing its employees and students with an environment free of sexual harassment. A student's refusal to submit to or willingness to engage in such conduct can never be the basis for any faculty member or other employee to make educational decisions regarding such matters as the grade for a course, admission to a program, or a favorable recommendation. Covenant College strictly prohibits its faculty members, supervisors, and other employees from implying or suggesting that a student's submission to, or refusal to submit to, sexual advances or participation in sexual conduct is a condition of a grade, admission to a program, favorable recommendation, or other educational decision.


Sexual misconduct is the commission of a sexual act, whether by a stranger or non-stranger and regardless of the gender of any party, which occurs without indication of consent.

The following acts or attempted acts can be the subject of a sexual misconduct or sexual assault complaint:

  1. vaginal or anal intercourse;
  2. digital penetration;
  3. oral copulation; or
  4. penetration with a foreign object

The following completed acts can be the subject of a sexual misconduct complaint:

  1. unwanted touching or kissing of an intimate body part (whether directly or through clothing); or
  2. recording, photographing, transmitting, viewing or distributing intimate or sexual images without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved.


Sexual assault is defined as forcing, threatening, or coercing an individual into sexual contact against the individual's free will with or without the individual's consent. It includes, but is not limited to, any sexual act performed on an individual or any sexual act required to be performed by an individual against that individual's free will. Sexual assault includes having sexual contact with a victim while knowing or having reason to know that the victim was incapacitated by drugs (including alcohol) or was otherwise unable to consent. Verbal misconduct or any misconduct that does not involve unwanted sexual touching, does not constitute sexual assault under the College's policy but may constitute sexual harassment or another form of misconduct.


Consent is voluntary, sober, informed, clear, and mutual. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create a mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity. Refusal to consent does not have to be verbal; it can be expressed with gestures, body language, or attitude. A prior sexual history between the complainant and respondent does not constitute consent. Silence does not imply consent and previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts. Consenting to one behavior does not mean that consent is given at other points in time for that same behavior, and does not mean that consent is given for other sexual behaviors. It only means that consent is given for that behavior at that point in time. Consent may never be obtained through the use of force, coercion (manipulation), or intimidation. Sexual contact with anyone who is incapacitated by alcohol and/or other drugs is a violation of this policy. 


Stalking occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.


A course of conduct consists of two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which a person directly, indirectly, or through third Parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about another person, or interferes with another person’s property.


Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the Complainant.


Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.


Relationship violence includes violence by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Whether there was such relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.