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Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct Policy & Grievance Process

All Hampshire College community members have the right to personal and sexual safety, respect, integrity, and freedom of expression, as long as such expression does not cause harm to others. Hampshire College will not tolerate any form of sexual offense. This policy has been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated. This policy is intended to define community expectations and to establish a mechanism for responding when those expectations have been violated.


The expectations of our community regarding sexual misconduct can be summarized as follows:

In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear, knowing and voluntary consent prior to and during sexual activity. Consent is permission for sexual acts. Consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is not as clear as talking about what you want sexually and what you don’t. Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity. Silence--without actions demonstrating permission--cannot be assumed to show consent.

Additionally, there is a difference between seduction and coercion. Coercing someone into sexual activity violates this policy in the same way as physically forcing someone into sex. Coercion happens when someone is pressured unreasonably for sex. Because alcohol or other drug use can place the capacity to consent in question, sober sex is less likely to raise such questions. When alcohol or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. Under this policy, “No” always means “No,” and “Yes” may not always mean “Yes.” Anything but a clear, knowing and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a “no.”


[1] Policy adapted from Not Alone:  First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault (April 2014); Association of Title IX Administrators and the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management [Sokolow, B. A., Lewis, S., & Schuster, S. K. (2011). ATIXA Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Model Policy. NCHERM & ATIXA.]