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What is Sexual Assault and What is Prohibited at Boston College

The legal definition of sexual assault varies but the University defines sexual assault as any nonconsensual sexual activity. Boston College Code of Student Conduct prohibits all forms of sexual violence, coercion, or harassment whether they were perpetrated by a stranger or an acquaintance, occurred on or off campus, or were directed against a member of the Boston College community or someone from outside the University community.

Prohibited conduct ranges from acts clearly identifiable as rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault, to sexual misconduct that may not be in all instances criminal, including:

  • stalking
  • voyeurism
  • exposure
  • sexually harassing communication
  • sexual activity in a context of emotional coercion

When there is reasonable cause to believe that a student member of the University has violated the Code of Student Conduct, the University will take action in accordance with the established policies and procedures outlined in the Boston College Student Guide. University judicial action may be taken whether or not criminal charges are filed and without regard to whether the conduct occurred on or off the Boston College campus.

What is Consent?

In the context of the University Code of Conduct, active consent is needed to engage in sexual activity.  For the purpose of this policy, consent is informed, freely and actively given, mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in a mutually agreed upon sexual activity.

Sexual assault and rape can occur even if the survivor freely went to the assailant’s room, was using drugs or alcohol at the time, knew the assailant, or cannot remember the incident clearly. A person cannot consent to sexual contact if she or he was using drugs or alcohol to the point of incapacitation.

What is Intimate Partner Violence?

Intimate partner violence is intentional violent or controlling behavior by a person who is currently or was previously in a romantic relationship with the victim.  Relationship violence includes actual or threatened physical injury, sexual assault, psychological abuse, economic control, or progressive social isolation.  The Boston College Code of Student Conduct affirms that all students have “the right to be free from violence, force, threats, and abuse, and the right to move about freely.”