Effective August, 2022


  1. Policy Statement
  2. Scope of Policy/Jurisdiction
  3. Prohibited Conduct
    1. Discrimination Based on a Protected Category
    2. Harassment Based on a Protected Category
      1. Title IX Sexual Harassment
      2. Sexual Harassment (Non-Title IX)
    3. Sexual Exploitation
      1. Non-Consensual Photographing/Recording Sexual Activity/Nudity and Sharing Photographs/Recordings of Sexual Activity/Nudity
      2. Voyeurism
      3. Indecent Exposure
      4. Prostituting or Trafficking
    4. Sexual Violence
      1. Sexual Assault
      2. Relationship Violence (Dating/Domestic)
      3. Stalking
    5. Retaliation
  4. Important Definitions
    1. Consent
      1. What is Consent?
      2. What is Not Consent?
      3. Incapable of Giving Consent:
      4. Consent and the Use of Alcohol or Drugs
    2. Incapacity
    3. Force
      1. Physical Force
      2. Threats
      3. Intimidation or Abuse of Power
      4. Coercion
  5. Reporting Options, Support Resources, & Supportive/Interim Measures
    1. Reporting to the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO)
    2. Responsible Reporters
    3. Support Resources and Supportive/Interim Measures
      1. Confidential On-Campus Support Resources
      2. Confidential Off-Campus Support Resources
      3. Other On-Campus Resources
      4. Supportive/Interim Measures
    4. External Reporting Options/Administrative Agencies
      1. Boston, Massachusetts
        1. Boston Police Department
        2. Massachusetts State Police
        3. U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
        4. Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
        5. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
      2. Los Angeles, California
        1. Los Angeles Police Department
        2. U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
        3. California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
        4. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
      3. International Resources
  6. Rights

I. Policy Statement

Emerson College is committed to and strives to create an educational and work environment free of Discrimination, Harassment & Sexual Violence. Emerson prohibits discrimination and harassment against students, staff, and faculty on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, including transgender identity, religion, disability, age, genetics, active military or veteran status and any other characteristics protected under applicable federal or state law, known as “Protected Categories.” Emerson also prohibits sexual violence against students, staff and faculty which includes sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence. Some of the state and federal laws applicable to issues of discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence include Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, M.G.L. c. 151B; CA SB 493, Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act; Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments (“Title IX”); the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA); the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), as amended (ADAA); Section 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Emerson College affirms its commitment to equal opportunity and affirmative action and does not discriminate in its educational programs or activities, or in employment based on any of the Protected Categories.

Questions or concerns about this Policy should be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) (oeo [at] emerson.edutitle="Email oeo [at] emerson.edu" 617-824-8999). The Associate Vice-President of Equity, Access & Equal Opportunity, Sonia Jurado, serves as the College’s Title IX Coordinator and as the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (sonia_jurado [at] emerson.edutitle="Email sonia_jurado [at] emerson.edu" 617-824-8999).1

Violations of this Policy are subject to action through the processes outlined in the Formal Complaint Process and the Title IX Grievance Process (as applicable). Those processes can be found on the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) website. Depending on the nature of the violation, disciplinary sanctions for violations of this Policy may include, but are not limited to, loss of privileges, formal warning, disciplinary probation, educational sanctions, suspension, removal from the College and any other sanction noted in the Code of Community Standards for students, and may include warnings (verbal or written), censures, final warnings, reassignment, demotions, suspensions, and termination for employees. Training and other educational responses may also be issued in response to a finding of responsibility.

Allegations against any student or employee (staff or faculty) of discrimination, harassment and/or sexual violence that, if true, could violate this Policy will be addressed pursuant to the Formal Complaint Process and/or Title IX Grievance Process (as applicable). Employees (faculty and staff) subject to a collective bargaining agreement and/or the Faculty Handbook may have additional rights in terms of the sanctioning after a finding has been made pursuant to one of these processes. 

Retaliation against anyone who makes a report or complaint regarding a violation of this Policy, or who in any way participates in an inquiry or investigation of an alleged violation of this Policy is strictly prohibited. A person engaging in retaliatory conduct will be subject to disciplinary action by the College. See the section regarding retaliation below for more information.

Emerson reserves the right to make changes to this Policy as necessary, and in accordance with the laws noted above. This Policy is maintained, reviewed, and revised by the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). The most up-to-date version of this Policy that is currently in effect at the College can be found on the OEO website. If government regulations change in a way that impacts this Policy, this Policy will be construed to comply with government regulations in their most updated form, based on the effective date of the regulations in question.

II. Scope of Policy/Jurisdiction

This Policy applies to all students2, employees (staff and faculty)3 and any other individuals who participate in the College’s programs or activities. This Policy applies to conduct occurring on-campus and in off-campus Emerson programs, activities, or events (including, but not limited to, any national or international College-sponsored programs or College-led trips). This Policy may also apply to off-campus conduct that has an impact on the Emerson community.

The person who experienced the conduct is referred to as the Impacted Party. The person who reported the conduct is referred to as the Reporting Party, who may or may not be the same person as the Impacted Party. Generally the Impacted Party controls what steps might be taken to address any conduct.

On occasion, the person accused of discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence may be someone who is not an Emerson community member, or who formerly was an Emerson community member. Under those circumstances, the College’s ability to respond to the incident may be limited. Emerson can provide information about available supportive measures and resources both on and off campus to the member(s) of the Emerson community who experienced this type of conduct. The College can also provide information regarding any off-campus options that may be available to address the conduct, including referring the matter to law enforcement or to another institution. When appropriate, Emerson has the discretion to restrict a non-Emerson community member or a former Emerson community member’s access to campus or other Emerson property. 

There may also be occasions where someone who is not an Emerson community member, is a former Emerson community member or is a third-party experiences discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence which is alleged to have been committed by an Emerson student or employee, and which may or may not have occurred on campus or at a College program, activity or event. When the person who experienced the conduct is not, or no longer is, an Emerson community member, the College may exercise discretionary jurisdiction over that incident under certain circumstances. See the Formal Complaint Process for more information about discretionary jurisdiction. Concerns that are raised by someone who is not an Emerson community member should be referred to the Office Equal Opportunity (OEO) (oeo [at] emerson.edutitle="Email oeo [at] emerson.edu" 617-824-8999).

III. Prohibited Conduct

Discrimination Based on a Protected Category

Discrimination Based on a Protected Category (“discrimination”) occurs when individuals are excluded from participation, are treated differently, or are otherwise adversely affected in a term or condition of their employment, education, or participation in a College program or activity based on their membership in one (or more) of the Protected Categories. Protected Categories include race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, including transgender identity, religion, disability, age, genetics, active military or veteran status and any other characteristics protected under applicable federal or state law. Examples of adverse actions against an individual can include giving someone a poor grade or performance review, terminating someone’s employment, failing to promote an individual, excluding someone from a program or denying them admission. Some other examples of discrimination include:

  • Not providing the same classroom materials to a student based on their religion
  • Excluding an employee from meetings based on their race
  • Not allowing a student to go on a class field trip because they are pregnant
  • Not offering a job to a person employee based on their age 
  • Not recommending a person for promotion based on their gender-identity

B. Harassment Based on a Protected Category

Harassment Based on a Protected Category (“harassment”) occurs when there is conduct that: (1) is unwelcome or unwanted; (2) is based on membership in one or more of the Protected Categories; (3) is objectively offensive to a reasonable person; (4) is severe, pervasive or persistent; and (5) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or abusive environment that could interfere with an individual’s educational experience or work environment. Protected Categories include race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, including transgender identity, religion, disability, age, genetics, active military or veteran status and any other characteristics protected under applicable federal or state law. A reasonable person is defined as a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities. 

Harassment can occur between or among students, staff, faculty and/or third parties and can occur between people of unequal power or between peers. Such conduct is Harassment when it can have the effect of limiting an individual’s equal access to the College’s educational or employment opportunities. 

Harassment includes objectively offensive conduct that can be verbal, non-verbal, visual and/or physical in nature. Harassment can include, but is not limited to, jokes, slurs, epithets, name-calling, threats, intimidation, ridicule, mockery, insults, put-downs, unwanted touching, or offensive objects or pictures. Sending someone sexually explicit photographs or recordings without their consent can also constitute a form of harassment. 

Some other examples of conduct that could constitute harassment include:

  • Making jokes about the fact that a person is an immigrant, making fun of their accent and gossiping about the food they bring in for lunch, mocking the country that person is from, giving this person extra work during a holiday saying “you probably don’t celebrate this anyway.” 
  • A pattern of sending sexually explicit text messages or images to a person, repeatedly asking them out (even after they have said no), watching sexually explicit materials in front of a person, joking about sexual behavior around a person, questioning a person’s sexual orientation because they refuse to go on a date, standing close to a person whenever they are around. 
  • Making jokes about the fact that a co-worker is older, asking if they remember “when the dinosaurs were around” and announcing to everyone when they have difficulty with technology, commenting “why is this so hard for you people,” making age-related jokes when this employee has a birthday, excluding this person from a work outing because “you probably don’t like to hang out with young people.” 
  • Complaining that a class location has been moved to accommodate someone with a disability, making fun of a person because of how they move, complaining about accommodations a person is receiving saying they are getting an advantage over others, excluding a person from a meeting because it will “take too long for them to get here.” 

Please note that Emerson College also has policies regarding Consensual Relations between Faculty, Staff, and Students. This policy prohibits faculty and staff from any romantic or sexual relationships with students. For more information please see the policies on Consensual Relations: Faculty and Consensual Relations: Staff.

Sexual Harassment is one form of Harassment Based on a Protected Category under this section of the Policy. There are two definitions of Sexual Harassment in the Policy, which depend on whether the alleged conduct meets statutory requirements under Title IX. Whether conduct is designated as Title IX Sexual Harassment or Sexual Harassment (Non-Title IX), as determined by the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), will control the process under which the matter would be adjudicated should an impacted party chose to move forward with a process (see the Formal Complaint Process for more information). In all cases, Sexual Harassment is prohibited by the College through this Policy.

1. Title IX Sexual Harassment 

Title IX Sexual Harassment is defined as (1) unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature; (2) that a reasonable person would find to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive; (3) that it effectively denies them equal access to the College’s educational program or activity. A reasonable person is defined as a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities. To be considered Title IX Sexual Harassment, the conduct must also meets the jurisdictional requirements found in the Title IX Grievance Process.4

The conduct can also be Title IX Sexual Harassment when an Emerson employee makes submission to, or rejection of, unwelcome sexual conduct an explicit or implicit term or condition of one’s education or employment or uses that as the basis to make education or employment decisions. (referred to as “Quid Pro Quo” harassment). In other words, this occurs when an employee of the College conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of Emerson on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct. To be considered Title IX Sexual Harassment, the conduct must also meet the jurisdictional requirements in the Title IX Grievance Process. If the conduct does not meet those jurisdictional requirements, the section below on Sexual Harassment (Non-Title IX) applies instead. 

In some situations, when conduct defined as Sexual Exploitation (see below) also meets the definitions above and the jurisdictional requirements, that conduct will be addressed as Title IX Sexual Harassment. If the conduct does not meet the definitions above or the jurisdictional requirements, the section on Sexual Exploitation will apply instead.

2. Sexual Harassment (Non-Title IX)

Sexual Harassment (Non-Title IX), like Harassment Based on a Protected Category, occurs when there is conduct that: (1) is unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature; (2) is objectively offensive to a reasonable person; (4) is severe, pervasive or persistent; and (5) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or abusive environment that could have a negative impact on an individual’s educational experience or work environment. A reasonable person is defined as a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities. 

Conduct can also constitute sexual harassment when submission to, or rejection of, those unwelcome advances, is (1) made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of one’s education or employment; (2) is a basis for education or employment decisions; or (3) is used as the basis for any decision affecting the individual regarding benefits and services, honors, programs, or activities available at or through the College. (referred to as “Quid Pro Quo” harassment). Quid Pro Quo Harassment (Non-Title IX) can be committed by anyone (students, staff, faculty) who has real or perceived authority over the impacted individual(s). 

C. Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation occurs when a person(s) takes non-consensual sexual advantage of another, for any purpose. Sexual exploitation can take many forms, including those noted below, but is not limited to just these behaviors. Other forms of sexual exploitation can occur beyond the categories listed here, as determined by the Associate Vice-President of Equity, Access & Equal Opportunity (or their designee) on a case-by-case basis.

1. Non-Consensual Photographing/Recording Sexual Activity/Nudity and Sharing Photographs/Recordings of Sexual Activity/Nudity

Sexual Exploitation occurs when someone photographs or otherwise records someone (via audio, video, or any other medium) involved in sexual activity, or in any state of undress, without their consent. Even if a person consented to the sexual activity or being in a state of undress, photographing or recording someone without consent goes beyond the boundary of that original consent (see the definition of Consent below for more information).

The act of sharing or distributing photographs, recordings, or images of someone involved in sexual activity or in a state of undress, without their consent, also constitutes Sexual Exploitation. This occurs when the individual(s) distributing the images or recordings knew or should have known that the person depicted in the images or recordings did not consent to the disclosure. Even if the images were taken with consent, it is a violation of this Policy to share those photographs or recordings without first obtaining consent to show them to others. Anyone in possession of such photographs or recordings and who is sharing those images without consent is responsible for Sexual Exploitation, regardless of whether that individual was the person who originally took the photographs or recording. It is a violation of the Policy to share those photographs or recordings by digitally forwarding them, posting copies of the images, otherwise sharing them, or by simply showing someone else those images without relinquishing possession. 

2. Voyeurism

Voyeurism is the act of intentionally observing, spying on or listening to a person(s) involved in sexual activity or in any state of undress, without their consent, for any purposes. Voyeurism also occurs when an individual allows others to observe sexual activity or someone in any state of undress without the consent of all the person(s) involved. 

3. Indecent Exposure

Indecent Exposure is exposing one’s intimate body parts, such as genitalia, groin, breasts and/or buttocks to someone without their consent. This behavior is the showing of intimate parts of the body and may, but does not necessarily have to, include a sexual act. Engaging in sexual activity in front of a non-consenting person(s), is also a form of Indecent Exposure.

4. Prostituting or Trafficking

Prostituting another person is a form of Sexual Exploitation. The trafficking of another person, defined as the inducement of a person to perform a commercial sex act, or labor or services, through force, fraud, or coercion, is also Sexual Exploitation.

D. Sexual Violence

Emerson prohibits Sexual Violence by students, staff, and faculty. Under this Policy, Sexual Violence include Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking. Sexual Violence may be defined differently based on applicable state or federal laws, as discussed below. In some cases, conduct that is considered Sexual Violence may not fall under Title IX due to jurisdictional requirements, but it could still be considered a violation of this Policy.5

The following are examples of some conduct that would not constitute Sexual Violence under Title IX, but could still implicate this Policy. 

  • A sexual assault by an Emerson student that occurs off-campus
  • Relationship violence by an Emerson community member while studying abroad
  • Stalking of a non-Emerson community member by an Emerson employee or student

1. Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault is defined as the act of committing unwelcome or unwanted penetration or physical contact of a sexual nature. Such contact is unwelcome or unwanted when it occurs (1) without consent (as defined below), (2) when the other individual(s) involved is incapacitated or otherwise incapable of giving consent (as defined below), or (3) when it occurs with the use of force (as defined below). Based on the regulatory definitions and jurisdictional requirements of Title IX, some forms of sexual assault may be considered Title IX Sexual Assault while others would be considered Sexual Assault (Non-Title IX). Regardless of which section it falls under, Sexual Assault is prohibited under this Policy.

Sexual assault can be committed by anyone including a stranger, an acquaintance, such as a friend, intimate partner, coworker, classmate, friend of a friend or someone you just met. The parties involved can be of any actual or perceived sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression and/or sexual orientation.

a. Title IX Sexual Assault

Conduct is considered Title IX Sexual Assault when it meets one (or more of) the definitions below and meets the jurisdictional requirements found in the Title IX Grievance Process.6 If the conduct does not meet the jurisdictional requirements it may still be considered Sexual Assault (Non-Title IX) under this Policy (as discussed below) and may be adjudicated through the Formal Resolution Process found in the Formal Complaint Process instead. 

Sexual Assault is any sexual act directed against an individual through the use of force, without consent and/or in instances where the Impacted Party is incapable of giving consent. This definition includes the following conduct:
Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, through the use of force, without consent and/or where a person is incapable of giving consent. 

Oral or anal sexual intercourse committed through the use of force, without consent and/or where a person is incapable of giving consent.

  • Penetration with an object or instrument, however slight, of the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, through the use of force, without consent and/or where a person is incapable of giving consent.
  • Touching of the private body parts of another person (buttocks, groin, breasts) for the purpose of sexual gratification, through the use of force, without consent and/or where a person is incapable of giving consent.
  • Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other to a degree where marriage would be prohibited by Massachusetts or California law, as applicable.
  • Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, through the use of force, without consent and/or where a person is incapable of giving consent. 
  • Oral or anal sexual intercourse committed through the use of force, without consent and/or where a person is incapable of giving consent.
b. Sexual Assault (Non-Title IX)

Conduct is considered Sexual Assault (Non-Title IX) when it meets one (or more) of the definitions below and/or when the conduct does not meet the jurisdictional requirements found in the Title IX Grievance Process.7 This conduct would be adjudicated through the Formal Resolution Process found in the Formal Complaint Process instead.

Sexual Assault (Non-Title IX) is defined as (1) any sexual intercourse or penetration (anal, oral or vaginal), however slight, with any object or body part, or performing/receiving oral copulation (vaginal, anal or penile); (2) by a person upon or to another person(s); (3) without consent, by force or upon a person who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to consent.Sexual Assault (Non-Title IX) is also (1) any intentional sexual touching, however slight; (2) by a person upon or to another person’s intimate body parts (including but not limited to genitalia, groin, breast, buttocks, mouth, and/or clothing covering those parts); (3) without consent, through the use of force or on someone who is incapacitated.

It also includes intentionally causing a person to touch the intimate body parts of another without consent, using a person’s own intimate body part to intentionally touch another person’s body without consent, or any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner without consent, even if that contact does not involve intimate body parts.

2. Relationship Violence (Dating/Domestic)

Relationship Violence (Dating/Domestic) is defined as a pattern of behavior, violence or abuse committed by a former or current intimate or dating partner of the Impacted Party. This pattern of behavior may include physical or sexual violence, emotional and psychological intimidation, threats, verbal abuse, stalking, isolation, and/or economic control. The existence of an intimate relationship shall be determined based on consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.8 Relationship Violence (Dating/Domestic) can include, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.

Conduct is considered Title IX Dating/Domestic Violence and subject to the Title IX Grievance Process when it meets the definition above and meets the jurisdictional requirements found in that process. If the conduct meets the definition above but does not meet those jurisdictional requirements, then it may be adjudicated through the Formal Resolution Process found in the Formal Complaint Process instead.

3. Stalking

Stalking is 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 to suffer substantial emotional distress. A course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which an individual directly, indirectly, or through third parties, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property, by any method, device, or means. A reasonable person is defined as a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily require, medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Conduct is considered Title IX Stalking and subject to the Title IX Grievance Process when it meets the definition above and meets the jurisdictional requirements found in the that process. If the conduct meets the definition above but does not meet those jurisdictional requirements, then it may be adjudicated through the Formal Resolution Process in the Formal Complaint Process instead.

E. Retaliation

Retaliation is an adverse or negative action taken against an individual for reporting concerns about discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence, for participating in a resolution process or investigation, or otherwise exercising their rights under this Policy. No one may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IV, Title VII, Title IX, (or any other applicable federal or state law conferring protections against retaliation) or this Policy because the individual has made a report or complaint, has given a statement, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, inquiry, assessment, or hearing. A retaliatory action can include (but is not limited to):

  • Aggression
  • Intimidation
  • Threats or verbal abuse
  • Exclusion
  • Different treatment
  • Harassment or bullying

Retaliation against anyone who files a complaint of discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence and/or who participates in an inquiry or investigation into those behaviors is strictly prohibited. Any Emerson Community member (student, staff, or faculty) who retaliates against an individual for reporting discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence and/or for participating in an inquiry or investigation is subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, dismissal from the College or termination of employment. Retaliation by others (e.g., friends, family members, attorneys, etc.) for the benefit of a party or witness is also prohibited and could subject the party and the person(s) engaging in the conduct to disciplinary action. Emerson has the discretion to address issues of retaliation through any Process associated with this Policy, through a student conduct or through an employee process. The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), in consultation with the Director of Community Standards and/or Human Resources will have the discretion to decide what process will be utilized to address incidents of retaliation on a case-by-case basis. 

IV. Important Definitions

Consent is an affirmative, voluntary, knowing, and continuous agreement to engage in a specific form of sexual activity. Consent must be obtained before engaging in any sexual activity.9 Consent may be communicated verbally, non-verbally, or physically so long as those words or actions create clear, mutually understandable permission regarding the conditions of sexual activity. Consent is an active and affirmative process. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that they have the affirmative consent of the other(s) to engage in the sexual activity. If an individual is not sure if they have received consent, they have an obligation to seek additional clarification. Consent must be received for each individual sexual act that a person wishes to engage in with another person(s). Consent may not be inferred from silence or lack of resistance to sexual advances, or from prior consensual sexual contact. Consent may be withdrawn at any time, and consent to one sexual activity does not imply consent to any subsequent sexual activity. The existence of a relationship between the persons involved, or the fact that they may have had past sexual relations, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.

1. What is Consent?

Consent occurs when individuals willingly, unambiguously, and knowingly agree to engage in sexual activity and their agreement is communicated in a clear and affirmative manner that is understood by all of the parties involved. Relying solely on non-verbal communication, which can sometimes be unclear, can lead to misunderstandings. Any lack of clarity regarding consent should be resolved through verbal communication. Individuals should be able to clearly articulate why and how they knew they had received consent and what they considered to be indications of consent before they engaged in sexual activity. Consent is often given with certain explicit or implied boundaries, such as agreeing to have sexual intercourse but only with the use of a condom. Violating the boundaries of consent by engaging in behavior beyond that which was agreed upon is non-consensual conduct.

It is important to remember:

  • Consent to one sexual act does not constitute or imply consent to another act
  • Prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts
  • Consent cannot be assumed based on relationship status or a sexual history together
  • Consent can be withdrawn or revoked at any time by either party

2. What is Not Consent?

Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or a lack of objection. Individuals who do not physically oppose or verbally refuse sex or sexual activity are not necessarily giving consent. Silence or a failure to resist does not equal consent, as consent is an active and affirmative process. It is the responsibility of the person wanting to engage in or initiating sexual activity to make sure that they have received consent at each stage of sexual activity from all person(s) engaged in the sexual activity. If a person is not sure if they have consent, they have an obligation to seek clarity, preferably verbally. The use of alcohol or other substances does not relieve an individual from their obligation to obtain consent before initiating and/or engaging in sexual activity (see Consent and the Use of Alcohol or Drugs below for more information).

Some behaviors and comments that do not indicate affirmative consent include (but are not limited to):

  • Silence
  • “I don’t know.”
  • “Maybe”
  • Lack of objection
  • Not fighting back or resisting
  • Ambiguous responses
  • A verbal “no,” even if it may sound indecisive or insincere

Individuals who are unconscious or in a state of incapacity (as discussed below) cannot consent to sexual activity. Consent can never be obtained by use of force (as defined below), which includes physical force, threats, intimidation, abuse of power and coercion.

3. Incapable of Giving Consent:

a. Someone who is incapacitated 

A person can be incapacitated due to the use of drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicating substance, or when they are unconscious, asleep or otherwise unaware the sexual activity is occurring (see the definition of Incapacity below for more information).

b. Someone under the legal age of consent (statutory rape)

The legal age of consent in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is sixteen (16) years of age. The legal age of consent for conduct that occurred in the State of California is eighteen (18) years of age. Sexual activity with a person who is under the age of consent is always non-consensual, regardless of whether the underage person was a willing participant in the conduct.

c. Someone who is cognitively disabled or impaired

Certain cognitive disabilities or impairments (permanent or temporary) can cause a person to be unable to knowingly consent to sexual activity. It is a violation of this Policy to engage in sexual activity with a person whose cognitive disability or impairment renders them incapable of giving consent and the disability/impairment is known to or should have been known to the non-disabled sexual partner. Under these circumstances, the conduct is non-consensual regardless of whether the person appeared to be a willing participant. 

4. Consent and the Use of Alcohol or Drugs

Engaging in sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other substances can impair an individual’s ability to be sure they have received consent. A person who has consumed alcohol, drugs and/or other substances still has a responsibility to obtain ongoing consent for any sexual activity with another person(s). A person’s use of alcohol, drugs, or other substances will never be an excuse for failing to obtain consent. A person that was using alcohol, drugs, or other substances is never responsible for being subjected to sexual violence. Once a person has reached the point of incapacitation by alcohol, drugs, or other substances, they can no longer consent to sexual activity under this Policy (see definition of Incapacity below). Because it can be difficult to know when someone has passed from the state of intoxication to a point of incapacitation, there should be no sexual contact with someone if there is any doubt about a person’s ability to consent.

B. Incapacity

Incapacity is a state in which someone cannot make a decision because they lack the ability to understand what is happening. A person may become incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, to the point that they cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity. When incapacitated, an individual moves from being simply intoxicated or under the influence to being physically and/or mentally debilitated due to their drug or alcohol consumption. Individuals can also be incapacitated when they are unconscious or asleep. A person who is incapacitated cannot consent even if they appear to be a willing participant. 

Some indications of incapacity include (but are not limited to):

  • Slurred speech or other difficulty communicating
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble keeping eyes open
  • Unconsciousness
  • Confusion or lack of understanding
  • Disorientation to time or place

Sometimes an individual can be incapacitated without displaying any of these signs. For instance, a person in a blackout state may appear to be conscious when they are actually incapacitated and unable to consent. 

Knowingly engaging in sexual activity with someone who is incapacitated is a violation of this Policy. An individual is responsible for violating this Policy when: (1) they engage in sexual activity with someone who is incapacitated, and (2) they knew or a reasonable person should have known that individual was incapacitated. A reasonable person is defined as a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities, without consideration of that person’s intoxication. It is the responsibility of the individual who wants to engage in sexual activity, or the person who is not incapacitated, to make sure that the other individual(s) involved are able to consent.

It is important to remember that it is often difficult to tell when someone has moved from being intoxicated and has become incapacitated. A person who is also under the influence of alcohol and/or other substances may have difficulty assessing whether someone else has moved from intoxication to incapacitation. If there is any question or doubt about whether an individual has become incapacitated, it is best not to engage in sexual activity with them. When in doubt, don’t.

C. Force

The use of force to cause or make someone engage in sexual activity they would not have otherwise agreed to, or did not want to engage in, is by definition non-consensual. Force is not limited to physical violence, but also includes threats, intimidation, abuse of power, coercion, or any combination of these behaviors. The presence of force during sexual activity can negate any indications of consent.

1. Physical Force

Physical force is the use of physical power, violence or strength upon another person’s body. It can also be using one’s physical size, presence or a weapon to restrain another. If an individual uses physical force or, violence, or threatens to use physical force or violence to make another person participate in or perform a sexual activity they would not have otherwise agreed to or did not want to engage in, it is a violation of this Policy.

Physical force and violence include (but are not limited to):

  • Restraining someone
  • Not allowing someone to leave
  • Imposing on someone physically
  • Using a weapon
  • The presence or suggestion of a weapon
  • Hitting or pushing someone

2. Threats

A threat occurs when someone says or implies there will be negative consequences from failing to acquiesce to, or comply with, sexual activity or other unwanted sexual conduct. It is a violation of this Policy if an individual uses threats to make another person participate in or perform sexual activity they would not have agreed to engage in otherwise. Threats can be implied, veiled and/or non-verbal.

These behaviors can include (but are not limited to) threats to:

  • Inflict harm or injury
  • Hurt or kill themselves or someone else
  • Expose some secret or embarrassing information or images
  • Hurt someone’s reputation
  • Inflict negative social consequences
  • Inflict negative work or educational consequences (e.g. bad grade or poor performance review)

3. Intimidation or Abuse of Power

Intimidation or abuse of power occurs when individuals use their real or perceived authority to pressure another person to submit to sexual activity or other unwanted sexual conduct. Intimidation happens through a display of wealth, status, or power that someone uses to make another do what they want them to do. Real or perceived power can come from things such as class, social status, a teaching position, supervisory role, mentorship, membership in a team or group or an individual’s status within a team or group. It implies a power imbalance between the parties. When an individual uses this power/authority/control to influence another to participate in or perform a sexual activity or other sexual conduct that they might not have agreed to engage in otherwise, they have used force in violation of this Policy.

4. Coercion

Under this Policy, coercion occurs when pressure is used to compel someone to engage in unwanted or unwelcomed sexual activity. The use of this pressure violates the free will of another. Coercion can be bullying an individual into sexual activity or other sexual conduct that they did not and/or would not have wanted to participate in but for the coercion. Coercion can be physical or verbal and often involves persistently badgering someone. Coercion can be a process that happens over a period of time, varying from a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, or weeks. In assessing whether coercion was used, the frequency, duration and intensity of the pressure applied will be taken into consideration. When an individual uses coercion to influence another to participate in or perform sexual activity or other sexual conduct that they might not have agreed to engage in otherwise, they have used Force in violation of this Policy.

V. Reporting Options, Support Resources, & Supportive/ Interim Measures

Emerson College provides students and employees (staff and faculty) various options for reporting discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence. Members of the Emerson community are encouraged to come forward with information regarding violations of this Policy to any of the reporting options listed below. By reporting these concerns to the College, it provides Emerson the opportunity to address the conduct. The primary office for reporting these concerns is the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) (oeo [at] emerson.edutitle="Email oeo [at] emerson.edu" 617-824-8999), as discussed below.

The College also offers supportive measures and resources to individuals who may have experienced or witnessed violations of this Policy or who may be going thought the Formal Complaint Process or Title IX Grievance Process. Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate and available (without fee or charge) to an Impacted Party, Complainant, Respondent or any other participant in a process regardless of whether a formal complaint has been filed or a process is being pursued. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve access to Emerson’s educational programs/activities and employment, without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties and/or to deter harassment. These resources are available as appropriate even if a person chooses not to pursue a complaint or to otherwise take action regarding the conduct. 

A. Reporting to the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) 

The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) is responsible for assisting Emerson community members (students, faculty and staff) with all issues of discrimination, harassment & sexual violence (including sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, sexual exploitation). OEO can receive reports of such conduct and will provide information regarding supportive measures & resources, including mutual no contact orders, housing changes and academic support. OEO can also provide information about what options may be available for taking action, including Emerson resolution processes and criminal action. In most cases, the decision regarding whether to initiate action will remain with the Impacted Party. The Impacted Party will be informed about their right to file a formal complaint at that time or in the future and about supportive measures. An Impacted Party that is interested in pursuing action for conduct they experience must work with OEO in order to initiate one of the resolution processes. Reports can be made to OEO via phone (617-824-8999), email (oeo [at] emerson.edutitle="Email oeo [at] emerson.edu"), or through the on-line reporting system (www.emerson.ethicspoint.com).

OEO will also promptly make supportive measures available to the Impacted Party (student, staff, faculty). OEO will work with that individual to determine what supportive measures, if any, may be useful and appropriate. An individual will have the option to choose whether to use supportive measures. 

B. Responsible Reporters

All employees of Emerson—including faculty and staff—are considered Responsible Reporters who have a duty to report any incidents of discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence to Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). Only employees who are part of on-campus confidential resources (including the Emerson Wellness Center, the Healing and Advocacy Collective, and the Center for Spiritual Life Chaplains) as discussed below are relieved from this duty to report. Student employees are also Responsible Reporters when they receive information while they are working, including students with teaching responsibilities. Residence Advisors (RAs) are considered a resource for students at all times with an obligation to report any information disclosed to them as they are always Responsible Reporters. 

A Responsible Reporter who becomes aware of a possible incident of discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence must report all relevant details, including any known names, to the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) (oeo [at] emerson.edutitle="Email oeo [at] emerson.edu" 617-824-8999), as soon as practicable. An employee’s failure to properly report such incidents may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. A Responsible Reporter should not share information with others, including their supervisors, chairs, deans, law enforcement (unless there is an immediate threat) or the person accused of the conduct, unless the impacted party specifically asks to have others be involved. OEO will be responsible for apprising any other people on campus who may need to be involved in addressing these concerns. All Responsible Reporters should make the extent of their reporting obligations clear to the reporting party and provide that individual with information about supportive measures & resources, to the best of their ability. Responsible Reporters cannot report anonymously.

Anyone within the Emerson community who is interested in supportive measures and resources, but who do not want to notify the College of their experience, are encouraged to work with the confidential resources noted below. An Emerson employee (faculty or staff) working outside of confidential resources should be assumed to be a Responsible Reporter.

C. Support Resources and Supportive/Interim Measures

The College also offers support resources and supportive/interim measures to individuals who may have experienced or witnessed violations of this Policy or who may be going thought the Formal Complaint Process or Title IX Grievance Process. Support resources and supportive/interim measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate and available (without fee or charge) to an Impacted Party, Complainant, Respondent or any other participant in a process regardless of whether a formal complaint has been filed or a process is being pursued. The goal in implementing any support resource or supportive/interim measure will be to minimize the academic or employment impact on either party and to make sure no one is unreasonably burdened by any of these measures. When, or if, a person accused of conduct alleged to have violated of this Policy is notified that such conduct has been reported to the College, OEO will also promptly make support resources available to that individual with these same provisions. For more information about support resources, please visit the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) website. Privacy surrounding the implementation of any support resource or supportive/interim measure will be maintained unless privacy impedes the effective implementation of the supportive measures.

Upon notice of any Prohibited Conduct or other alleged violation of this Policy, the College will offer and implement appropriate and reasonable support resource or supportive/interim measure to the Impacted Party who experienced the alleged conduct. Support resource or supportive/interim measure may include, but are not limited to, health and counseling services, advocacy services, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), referral to community-based service providers (some of which are noted below), visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid counseling, education to the community or a community subgroup(s), housing changes, adjusting work arrangements for employees (faculty and staff) or student-employees, safety planning (including providing campus safety escorts), transportation support, academic support (including extensions of deadlines, or other course/program-related adjustments), class schedule modifications, withdrawals or leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and any other actions deemed appropriate by the Associate Vice-President for Access, Equity and Inclusion (AVP) (or their designee), as the Title IX Coordinator for Emerson. The College may also put supportive/interim measures in place as deemed necessary, which may include mutual no-contact orders, no trespass orders, campus restrictions, and emergency removal. The College may also issue timely warnings as appropriate. 

1. Confidential On-Campus Support Resources

Certain professionals on the Emerson campus and in the community have legally recognized privileges which requires them to keep information confidential when it is disclosed to them in the course of their professional role. This means that, except under limited circumstances, they must keep what their clients tell them confidential. These individuals will maintain the confidentiality of those disclosures unless (i) they are given permission to share information by the person who disclosed the information; (ii) there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others; (iii) the conduct involves suspected abuse of a minor under the age of 18; or (iv) as otherwise required or permitted by law or court order. Confidential resources include medical care providers, mental health care providers, domestic violence and rape crisis counselors, ordained clergy and attorneys, all of whom have privileged confidentiality that is recognized by law. 

Making a disclosure to a confidential resource means that Emerson College will not be placed on notice of the conduct. Without that information, the College will not be able to address that conduct in any manner. However, confidential on-campus resources can assist individuals in receiving support resources (such as counseling, housing changes and academic support) when requested and provide information about non-confidential reporting options if that person decides they want to notify Emerson of the conduct. 

a. Confidential Resources For Students:

Healing & Advocacy Collective – Confidential Resource Provider
617-824-8857
233 Piano Row (150 Boylston Street)
advocate [at] emerson.edutitle="Email advocate [at] emerson.edu" 

The Healing & Advocacy Collective is confidential, free, and available to all Emerson students, staff, and faculty who have been impacted by power-based harm, including abusive relationships and bullying, stalking, and threats, sexual assault and harassment, identity-based harm, child abuse and neglect, and additional experiences of trauma, no matter where or when the harm occurred. You do not have to figure this out on your own. Healing & Advocacy supports Emerson College community members, as well as their family and friends. You’re not alone. Healing & Advocacy offers confidential trauma-informed support, including confidential counseling and advocacy. This can include: sharing information about rights, options, and additional resources; support coping with the impacts of trauma; developing safety plans; requesting supportive measures (housing, academic, work, social, financial) or resources (such as No Contact Orders); applying for protective orders (Abuse Prevention Order, Harassment Prevention Order) from civil court; offering information about campus, medical, reporting, and legal processes; going with you to campus, medical, and legal appointments, hearings, and processes; and helping connect you with additional campus and community resources (local, U.S., and international) if needed.

Emerson Wellness Center (EWC) – Confidential
617-824-8666
counselingservices [at] emerson.edutitle="Email counselingservices [at] emerson.edu" 
healthservices [at] emerson.edutitle="Email healthservices [at] emerson.edu" 
Union Bank Building 
216 Tremont ST
2nd and 3rd Floor

Emerson Wellness Center offers a variety of services to Emerson students. Counseling Services provides short-term psychotherapy, support and therapy groups, psychiatric consultation, referrals, crisis intervention, and outreach. Health Services provides routine medical care including sick visits, urgent care visits, physical exams, immunizations, contraception counseling, STD testing and counseling, including PrEP, emergency contraception (Plan B), pregnancy testing options counseling, and referral for other support services related to sexual violence and non-consensual contact. All services are confidential.

Center for Spiritual Life – Confidential
617-824-8036
spiritual_life [at] emerson.edutitle="Email spiritual_life [at] emerson.edu"

The Center for Spiritual Life is Emerson’s inclusive, multifaith hub for religious and spiritual programming, support, and education. Our team of chaplains and student leaders work to foster a campus environment where faith traditions and spirituality can be practiced freely and wholly. Emerson’s CSL chaplains and advisors are available to Emerson community members for one-on-one spiritual counseling. One-on-one conversations with the Director for Spiritual Life will be kept confidential, with the exception of imminent threat to self or others in which case limited appropriate resources will be contacted.

b. Confidential Resources For Employees (Staff And Faculty)

Healing & Advocacy Collective – Confidential Resource Provider
617-824-8857
233 Piano Row (150 Boylston Street)
advocate [at] emerson.edutitle="Email advocate [at] emerson.edu" 

The Healing & Advocacy Collective is confidential, free, and available to all Emerson students, staff, and faculty who have been impacted by power-based harm, including abusive relationships and bullying, stalking, and threats, sexual assault and harassment, identity-based harm, child abuse and neglect, and additional experiences of trauma, no matter where or when the harm occurred. You do not have to figure this out on your own. Healing & Advocacy supports Emerson College community members, as well as their family and friends. You’re not alone. Healing & Advocacy offers confidential trauma-informed support, including confidential counseling and advocacy. This can include: sharing information about rights, options, and additional resources; support coping with the impacts of trauma; developing safety plans; requesting supportive measures (housing, academic, work, social, financial) or resources (such as No Contact Orders); applying for protective orders (Abuse Prevention Order, Harassment Prevention Order) from civil court; offering information about campus, medical, reporting, and legal processes; going with you to campus, medical, and legal appointments, hearings, and processes; and helping connect you with additional campus and community resources (local, U.S., and international) if needed.

Center for Spiritual Life – Confidential
617-824-8036
spiritual_life [at] emerson.edutitle="Email spiritual_life [at] emerson.edu"

The Center for Spiritual Life is Emerson’s inclusive, multifaith hub for religious and spiritual programming, support, and education. Our team of chaplains and student leaders work to foster a campus environment where faith traditions and spirituality can be practiced freely and wholly. Emerson’s CSL chaplains and advisors are available to Emerson community members for one on one spiritual counseling. Conversations with the Director for Spiritual Life will be kept confidential, with the exception of imminent threat to self or others in which case limited appropriate resources will be contacted.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)– Confidential
800-624-5544 (available 24/7)
New Directions EAP website (company code: Emerson College)

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all employees (faculty and staff) at no cost, through New Directions. The EAP provides an array of services to employees and their dependents and/or household members for personal or work-related issues, including up to three (3) short-term confidential counseling sessions, legal consultation, financial consultation and other services.

2. Confidential Off-Campus Support Resources

There are numerous support resources available off campus, a few of which have been included here. For more information regarding other off-campus resources, please visit the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) website.

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC)
617-492-8306
800-841-8371 (24/7 hotline)
BARCC provides confidential counseling, legal advice and advocacy to help individuals who have experience sexual assault or other trauma. They provide medical advocacy to provide support individuals through the evidence collection process (“rape kit”). All services are free and available to regardless of sex or gender identity.

National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN)
800-656-HOPE (4673) (24/7)

RAINN is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country. 

Rape Crisis Network Europe (RCNE)

RCNE is the network of European centers which support survivors of sexual violence. RCNE aim to make sure that anyone who experiences sexual violence can get the help they need.

Massachusetts General Hospital
617-726-2000 (24/7)

The hospital can provide confidential medical treatment for injuries or other medical concerns, including those related to sexual assault. The hospital can also order Evidence Collection Kits (“rape kits”) if requested. These kits are usually administered by specialized Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) nurses. The hospital will also automatically provide a Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Medical Advocate to support an individual you through the collection kit, and have in-house programs providing additional services to survivors of sexual/domestic violence. For more information about Evidence Collection Kits, visit www.surviverape.org

LAC + USC Medical Center
323-409-1000 (24/7)

The medical center provides confidential medical treatment for injuries or other medical concerns, including those related to sexual assault. The hospital can also order Evidence Collection Kits (“rape kits”) if requested. For more information about Evidence Collection Kits, visit www.surviverape.org.

3. Other On-Campus Resources

There are additional resources available to the Emerson community that are not confidential. This means that choosing to speak with one of these resources will put Emerson on notice regarding this concern and the information disclosed will be shared with the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) (oeo [at] emerson.edutitle="Email oeo [at] emerson.edu", 617-824-8999). However, any information that is reported will be handled with privacy and discretion by OEO. Only those administrators within the College who are responsible for addressing this conduct (some of which are listed below), can assist with supportive measures and resources, or otherwise have a legitimate need to know will be informed of the disclosure. 

In most cases, when the accused person is a student, the individual who experienced the alleged conduct will have the option to decide whether to pursue any form of process regarding the incident they are reporting. In situations where the accused person is an employee, the College may be required to move forward when conduct violating this Policy has been reported. In either situation, once Emerson is on notice of the concern, it will strive to end the conduct, prevent its recurrence and remedy the effect on campus as best as possible with the information available. 

An Emerson employee who does not work for a confidential resource listed above should be considered a Responsible Reporter with an obligation to disclose information to OEO. For more information regarding who needs to report to OEO, see the section of this Policy regarding Responsible Reporters

Emerson College Police Department (ECPD)
617-824-8888 (on campus) (available 24/7)
911 (off campus emergency)

Anyone in the Emerson community can call with concerns about safety or well-being 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) conducts investigations into behavior that maybe criminal. However, simply calling the ECPD does not require you to file or pursue criminal charges. ECPD can provide transportation to the hospital/court (or can provide cab vouchers). ECPD can help students who may need immediate access to safe housing. ECPD can issue no trespass orders and provide information about restraining orders and other orders of protections available through the courts. ECPD can also help the College implement any requirements of a court order of protection issued to a student or employee.

Office of Housing and Residential Education 
617-824-8620
HRE [at] emerson.edutitle="Email HRE [at] emerson.edu"

Housing and Residential Education (HRE) coordinates and manages all aspects of the on-campus residential experience. Resident Assistants (RAs), Residence Directors (RDs) and other HRE staff serve on a 24-hour on-call rotation to assist individuals who may have concerns about discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence. HRE staff can help connect students with support resources & supportive/interim measures, including confidential resources. HRE staff can help contact the Emerson College Police Department if there are concerns about safety, a need for ambulatory transportation to the hospital, or if someone wishes to file a police report. HRE can also help students who may need access to temporary or long-term housing changes. 

Office of Student Success
617-824-8650
studentsuccess [at] emerson.edutitle="Email studentsuccess [at] emerson.edu"

The Office of Student Success helps students to explore their options, navigate campus systems, and connect to services, supports, and each other. The Office of Student Success is focused on student retention, satisfaction and success, and provides academic, financial, personal, interpersonal, or wellness support to students. 

Student Care and Support Office
617-824-8163
care [at] emerson.edutitle="Email care [at] emerson.edu"

Share a Concern

The Student Care and Support Office receives referrals from students, faculty, staff, etc. about students of concern. The Office works with key partners on campus to provide support for those students with a goal of helping them succeed academically and personally.

Office of Human Resources
617-824-8580
hr [at] emerson.edutitle="Email hr [at] emerson.edu"

The Office of Human Resources supports all Emerson employees (faculty and staff) in the performance of their employment responsibilities and in their well-being. Employees with concerns about discrimination, harassment or sexual violence can also reach out for support from Human Resources, keeping in mind that those reports will be shared with

Director of Community Standards
617-824-8620
studentconductoffice [at] emerson.edutitle="Email studentconductoffice [at] emerson.edu"

The Director of Community Standards serves as a centralized resource to support all students at Emerson, providing students with individualized opportunities for reflection and growth so that they may develop into engaged citizens. Concerns regarding any violation of Emerson’s Code of Community Standards or other College policies can be reported to the Director of Community Standards. The Director of Community Standards addresses student violations of College policies outside of the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment & Sexual Violence. Student concerns about discrimination, harassment or sexual violence can be reported to the Director of Community Standards, keeping in mind that those reports will be shared with Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO).

Academic Affairs 
617-824-8912
brooke_knight [at] emerson.edutitle="Email brooke_knight [at] emerson.edu"

The Office of Academic Affairs oversees all academic-related activities. It is responsible for academic policies and procedures, accreditation, strategic planning, assessment of student learning, faculty development, program reviews, academic departments and student support offices. Academic Affairs is available to support faculty within their schools with any questions regarding their position or with any academic support they made need. Faculty members with concerns about discrimination, harassment or sexual violence can reach out to Academic Affairs for support, keeping in mind that those reports will be shared with Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). 

4. Supportive/Interim Measures

Emerson has the discretion to use supportive/interim measures, such as emergency removals, administrative leaves and no contact orders, when alleged violations of this Policy are reported. In determining whether to issue supportive/interim measures, Emerson will consider, among other factors, whether the alleged conduct by that individual poses a safety risk to the College community. 

Emergency Removal/Leave

The College reserves the right to issue an Emergency Removal (students) or to put an employee on immediate leave or to reassign their duties, prior to the commencement or conclusion of a Resolution Process or Title IX Grievance Process to (1) ensure the physical safety or well-being of members of the Emerson community; (2) prevent the disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the College or the Investigation; and/or (3) when such a restriction is deemed necessary by the College. Decisions regarding whether to place a student on an emergency suspension will be made by members of the College’s threat assessment team, in consultation with the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). Decisions regarding whether to place an employee on leave will be made by Human Resources, in consultation with OEO, the employee’s supervisor or academic dean, or the Provost (or their designee), as appropriate.

No Contact Orders (NCO)

A No Contact Order (NCO) is an administrative tool that restricts contact, interaction, and communication between two or more individuals, either directly or through others (e.g. friends, family members, attorneys, etc.). An NCO may also include restrictions regarding an individual’s ability to access certain spaces on campus. A student NCO can be put in place as an informal administrative tool used in lieu of a process, in conjunction with the initiation of a process or as a sanction if there is a finding of responsibility through a process. Student NCOs are issued and administered by the Associate Vice-President of Campus Life. On occasion, the ECPD, Housing or a College official may issue a temporary verbal restriction on contact which will be followed up by the Director of Community Standards on the next business day. An NCO involving staff or faculty may be issued and administered by Human Resources, in consultation with Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), the employee’s supervisor or academic dean, or the Provost (or their designee), as appropriate.

Violations of the terms of an NCO can result in the initiation of a separate conduct process and/or may result in more serious interim measures being put into place. Violations of an NCO may also be resolved through any pending Formal Resolution Process, Title IX Grievance Process or through a separate disciplinary process. Decisions regarding how to address a violation of a student NCO will be made by the Director of Community Standards, in consultation with Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). Decisions regarding how to address a violation of an employee NCO will be made by Human Resources, in consultation with OEO, the employee’s supervisor or academic dean, or the Provost (or their designee), as appropriate.

D. External Reporting Options/ Administrative Agencies

  1. Boston, Massachusetts

    1. Boston Police Department
      Department Headquarters:
      One Schroeder Plaza 
      Roxbury Crossing, MA 02120
      911 (emergency)
      617-343-4500 (non-emergency)

      Investigates criminal reports of Boston-based crimes and has concurrent jurisdiction with the Emerson College Police Department for crimes that happened at Emerson College.
    2. Massachusetts State Police
      General Headquarters:
      470 Worcester Road
      Framingham, MA 01702
      508-820-2300

      Has concurrent jurisdiction of Boston-based crimes with the Boston Police Department and with the Emerson College Police Department for crimes that happened at Emerson College. Licenses and investigates criminal reports against campus police officers.
    3. U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
      5 Post Office Square, 8th Floor
      Boston, MA 02109
      617-289-0111

      Works to end discrimination in schools and investigates grievances.
    4. Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
      John McCormack Building
      One Ashburton Place
      Sixth Floor, Room 601
      Boston, MA 02108
      617-994-6000

      Works to end discrimination in employment in Massachusetts and investigates grievances.
    5. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 
      JFK Federal Building
      475 Government Center
      Boston, MA 02203
      800-669-4000

      Works to end discrimination federally in employment and investigates grievances.
  2. Los Angeles, California

    1. Los Angeles Police Department
      Department Headquarters:
      100 W 1st Street
      Los Angeles, CA 90012
      911 (emergency)
      (213) 486-1000 (non-emergency)

      Investigates criminal reports of Los Angeles-based crimes and has concurrent jurisdiction with the Emerson College Police Department for crimes that happened on the Emerson College campus.
    2. U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
      50 United Nations Plaza
      Mail Box 1200, Room 1545
      San Francisco, CA 94102
      415-486-5555

      Works to end discrimination in schools and investigates grievances.
    3. California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
      320 West 4th Street, Suite 1000, 10th Floor
      Los Angeles, CA 90013
      (213) 439-6799

      Works to investigate and end discrimination in employment in California.
    4. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 
      Roybal Federal Building
      255 East Temple St., 4th Floor
      Los Angeles, CA 90012
      213-785-3090

      Works to end discrimination federally in employment and investigates grievances.
  3. International Resources

Emerson community members who are working or studying abroad can find information about resources available internationally through the Healing and Advocacy Collective and OEO.

VI. Rights

Students, staff and faculty who report incidents of discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence have certain rights under this Policy and applicable laws. All individuals have the right to:

  1. Have disclosures of discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence, including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and sexual exploitation, treated seriously by the College.
  2. Seek supportive measures and resources such as health and counseling services, advocacy services, schedule and housing changes, academic support and/or work adjustments, as applicable, regardless of where the alleged conduct occurred.
  3. Notify law enforcement of the incident and seek their involvement if applicable. They also have the option to decline to notify law enforcement.
  4. Seek a No Contact Order through the College or an order of protection through the courts.
  5. Participate in a Formal Resolution Process or Title IX Grievance Process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard.
  6. To utilize the College’s resolution processes concurrently with any external civil or criminal processes that may also be available.
  7. Have one support person or advisor of their choice present at all meetings with administrators in the Formal Complaint Process, Formal Resolution Process and/or Title IX Grievance Process.
  8. Receive notification in writing of the outcome of any Formal Resolution Process or Title IX Grievance Process.

Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence Appendices

Appendix A: Selected Massachusetts State Definitions10

  • Rape: Rape is defined as: having sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse with a person and compelling such person to submit by force and against his or her will, or compelling such person to submit by threat of bodily injury. See Massachusetts General Laws Section 265 Chapter 22 
  • Domestic abuse: Abuse from an adult or minor family or household member.
    • Abuse is the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:
      • attempting to cause or causing physical harm;
      • placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm;
      • causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat or duress.
    • Family or household members are persons who:
      • are or were married to one another;
      • are or were residing together in the same household;
      • are or were related by blood or marriage;
      • have a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; or,
      • are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship, which shall be adjudged by district, probate or Boston municipal courts consideration of the following factors: (1) the length of time of the relationship; (2) the type of relationship; (3) the frequency of interaction between the parties; and (4) if the relationship has been terminated by either person, the length of time elapsed since the termination of the relationship. See Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 209A
  • Stalking: An individual engages in stalking if they:
    • willfully and maliciously engages in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time directed at a specific person which seriously alarms or annoys that person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress; and
    • makes a threat with the intent to place the person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury. See Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 43
  • Consent: There is currently no state statutory definition of consent in Massachusetts.

Appendix B: Selected California State Definitions11

  • Rape: Rape is defined as an act of sexual intercourse accomplished under any of the following circumstances:
    1. If a person who is not the spouse of the person committing the act is incapable, because of a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability, of giving legal consent, and this is known or reasonably should be known to the person committing the act. 
    2. If it is accomplished against a person’s will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another.
    3. If a person is prevented from resisting by an intoxicating or anesthetic substance, or a controlled substance, and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known by the accused. 
    4. If a person is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act, and this is known to the accused. As used in this paragraph, “unconscious of the nature of the act” means incapable of resisting because the victim meets any one of the following conditions:
      1. Was unconscious or asleep.
      2. Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant that the act occurred.
      3. Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant of the essential characteristics of the act due to the perpetrator’s fraud in fact.
      4. Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant of the essential characteristics of the act due to the perpetrator’s fraudulent representation that the sexual penetration served a professional purpose when it served no professional purpose.
    5. If a person submits under the belief that the person committing the act is someone known to the victim other than the accused, and this belief is induced by artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the accused, with intent to induce the belief.
    6. If the act is accomplished against the victim’s will by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim or any other person, and there is a reasonable possibility that the perpetrator will execute the threat. As used in this paragraph, “threatening to retaliate” means a threat to kidnap or falsely imprison, or to inflict extreme pain, serious bodily injury, or death.
    7. If the act is accomplished against the victim’s will by threatening to use the authority of a public official to incarcerate, arrest, or deport the victim or another, and the victim has a reasonable belief that the perpetrator is a public official. As used in this paragraph, “public official” means a person employed by a governmental agency who has the authority, as part of that position, to incarcerate, arrest, or deport another. The perpetrator does not actually have to be a public official. See California Penal Code § 261
  • Domestic Battery: Domestic Battery is when a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, former spouse, fiancé, or fiancée, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship. See California Penal Code § 243(e)(1) 
  • Domestic Violence: Domestic Violence occurs when any person willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim that is or was one or more of the following: (1) The offender’s spouse or former spouse; (2) The offender’s cohabitant or former cohabitant; (3) The offender’s fiancé or fiancée, or someone with whom the offender has, or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship; (4) The mother or father of the offender’s child. See California Penal Code § 273.5
  • Stalking: Stalking occurs when a person willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family. See California Penal Code § 646.9
  • Consent:There is currently no criminal statutory definition of consent in California.

Footnotes

(1) This person also acts as the Coordinator for purposes of California SB 493

(2) The term student includes any person enrolled in any (undergraduate or graduate) academic program or course at Emerson College, including Emerson-sponsored distance or Internet-based courses, up to and including the student’s commencement day or the last day of evaluation for non-degree students.

(3) “Employees” refers to anyone employed by Emerson in any capacity including faculty and staff.

(4) In addition to falling under the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment and/or Title IX Sexual Violence and occurring after August 14, 2020, the alleged conduct must meet three jurisdictional requirements to be subject to the Title IX Grievance Process. The conduct must 1) have occurred in the United States; 2) have occurred in a College program or activity; and 3) the complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in a College educational program or activity. For more information about these jurisdictional requirements, please see the Title IX Grievance Process.

(5) In addition to falling under the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment and/or Title IX Sexual Violence and occurring after August 14, 2020, the alleged conduct must meet three jurisdictional requirements to be subject to the Title IX Grievance Process. The conduct must 1) have occurred in the United States; 2) have occurred in a College program or activity; and 3) the complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in a College educational program or activity. For more information about these jurisdictional requirements, please see the Title IX Grievance Process.

(6) In addition to falling under the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment and/or Title IX Sexual Violence and occurring after August 14, 2020, the alleged conduct must meet three jurisdictional requirements to be subject to the Title IX Grievance Process. The conduct must 1) have occurred in the United States; 2) have occurred in a College program or activity; and 3) the complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in a College educational program or activity. For more information about these jurisdictional requirements, please see the Title IX Grievance Process.

(7) In addition to falling under the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment and/or Title IX Sexual Violence and occurring after August 14, 2020, the alleged conduct must meet three jurisdictional requirements to be subject to the Title IX Grievance Process. The conduct must 1) have occurred in the United States; 2) have occurred in a College program or activity; and 3) the complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in a College educational program or activity. For more information about these jurisdictional requirements, please see the Title IX Grievance Process.

(8) Domestic violence occurs under this definition when it is committed by a person who has one of the following relationships with the impacted party: current or former spouse or intimate partner, person with whom the impacted party shares a child in common; a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the impacted party as a spouse or intimate partner (not just a roommate); a person similarly situated to a spouse of the impacted party.

(9) The concept of consent is applicable outside of the context of sexual activity and can be incorporated into all aspect of interactions with others. For purposes of this Policy, we will be discussing consent as how it relates to issues of discrimination, harassment and sexual violence.

(10) These are Massachusetts’ definitions for criminal conduct which may differ from the definitions in this Policy. Definitions are current as of July 2022. For the most up-to-date information, visit the referenced sources. These definitions are provided to convey general information and do not constitute legal advice.

(11) These are California’s definitions for criminal conduct which may differ from the definitions in this Policy. Definitions are current as of July 2022. For the most up-to-date information, visit the referenced sources. These definitions are provided to convey general information and do not constitute legal advice.