Office of Community Standards 

Glossary Of Terms

Administrative Hearing:  A hearing conducted by an administrator or administrator(s).  (See hearing). 

Administrative Hearing Officer:  An College faculty/staff member who has been trained to conduct disciplinary hearings.

Alcohol and Other Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault:  Sexual assaults are linked substances, primarily alcohol, that may decrease inhibitions and incapacitate the user.  The drugs most often implicated in the commission of drug-facilitated sexual assaults are alcohol, GHB, Rohypnol (a benzodiazepine), ketamine, and Soma.  However, other benzodiazepines and sedative hypnotics are used as well. These drugs often render victims unconscious--an effect that is quickened and intensified when the drugs are taken with alcohol. A person also may become a victim after taking such a drug willingly. Victims often have no memory of an assault, only an awareness or sense that they were violated as a result of the sedative properties of these drugs.(1)  The estimates for alcohol use among sexual assault perpetrators range from 34 to 74 percent depending on the study sample. Approximately half of all sexual assault victims report drinking alcohol at the time of the assault (Abbey et al. 1994; Crowell and Burgess 1996). It is important to emphasize that although a woman's alcohol consumption may place her at increased risk of sexual assault, she is in no way responsible for the assault. The perpetrators are legally and morally responsible for their behavior.  Alcohol consumption tends to co-occur--that is, generally if alcohol is involved, both individuals are drinking.(2)

Appeals Board:  A committee consisting of College faculty, staff, and students who have been trained to consider appeals filed by students who wish to contest a finding of an Administrative Hearing Officer or Hearing Committee.  The Board acts as a safe guard to assure due process for students.

Clery Act:  The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to disclose timely and annual information about crime on and around their campuses.  The Clery Act is also known as the Campus Security Act.(3)

Committee hearing:  A hearing conducted by a panel including student(s) and faculty/staff members to obtain all information on a given discipline case and to make appropriate decisions based on the information obtained (See hearing). 

Confidentiality:  Confidentiality is a guarantee that no information will be shared with third parties without the reporter’s permission.  Licensed mental or physical health workers are held to standards of confidentiality as prescribed by their professions.  The only exception to confidentiality by those licensed workers is if there is an imminent danger of harm to self or others, in which cases these professionals are required by law to notify the police of that danger.   University Police take confidential police reports.  However, they have a legal obligation to investigate any report of a crime or safety issue.  Confidential University Police reports are investigated utilizing any investigative techniques that are indicated for the particular case, including interviewing the suspect(s). However, the reporting party information (i.e., name, address, etc.) are kept confidential. 

Consent:  Consent exists only when both parties in any sexual activity are 17 years of age or older and agree freely to participate in that activity.  Consent is mutual, equal, respectful, and freely given agreement to participate.   Consent does not exist when there is the presence of threat or consequence. 

By law, it is impossible for the following to give consent:  individuals who are under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances; who are physically helpless (including sleeping); who are under the age of 17; who are mentally incapacitated; and/or who are mentally disabled. 

Signs of lack of consent vary. Victims of unwanted sexual activity frequently attempt to leave, that is to flee.  Sometimes victims of such activity tend to physically resist, that is to fight. Sometimes, victims become so frightened they tend to become paralyzed, that is to freeze.  Each of these responses is, by definition, an indication of lack of consent.  Submission never indicates consent. 

Unequivocal verbal agreement is the most definitive expression of consent. Tentative vocal and or non-verbal “signals” do not indicate consent; they leave room for misunderstanding and miscommunication.

Consent may be withdrawn at any time during any sexual activity. Agreement to engage in some forms of sexual activity does not automatically indicate agreement to engage in other forms of sexual activity.  Any act that occurs after the withdrawal of consent is sexual assault.

Criminal Sexual Assault:  Criminal sexual assault is a crime which may include the following conduct:

  • Penetration or attempted penetration of the vagina by penis, finger, or object
  • Penetration or attempted penetration of the anus by penis, finger, or object
  • Penetration or attempted penetration of the mouth by penis, finger, or object
  • Nonconsensual touching of intimate body parts

Men and women, irrespective of sexual orientation, may be either perpetrators or victims.

Dating violence:  “Dating violence is violence that occurs between people who know each other: boyfriends and girlfriends or same sex partners whether or not they live together.  The violence may be physical, but it can also include threats, enforced social isolation and/or humiliation, intimidation, harassment, emotional mistreatment, financial control, forced sex or making threats with regard to family, friends, and/or children.(4)  Some of the common terms used to describe dating violence are courtship violence, battering, intimate partner violence, and date rape. (5)

Harass:  To irritate or torment persistently.(6)

Hearing:  A formal meeting during which an accused student has a right to hear all information, to present rebuttal information, and to present witnesses related to pending charges.  Hearings are conducted by either an Administrative Hearing Officer(s) or a Hearing Committee.

Hearing Committee:  A committee consisting of College faculty/staff, and students who have been trained to conduct disciplinary hearings.

Initial conference:  An individual meeting with a campus official during which an accused student has access to any written reports containing information used for the disciplinary action.  Depending on choices made by the accused student, the Initial Conference may result in a resolution of the charges.  Alternatively, the accused student may choose to have the charges resolved by either an Administrative Hearing Officer or a Hearing Committee.

Intimidate:  To fill with fear.  To coerce, inhibit, or discourage by or with threats.(7)

My Sister’s Place, Inc.:  My Sister’s Place, Inc. is a not-for-profit community agency that provides counseling, outreach, prevention, and education programs on domestic/dating violence and sexual assault throughout Westchester County.  My Sister’s Place is located at 2 Lyons Place in White Plains.  The phone number is (914) 683-1333.  Their 24 hour hotline is (800) 298-SAFE (7233).

No contact order:  A formal directive issued by the College requiring parties in any interpersonal conflict to have no direct or indirect interaction.  A no contact order remains in effect until it is officially removed in writing by the College.

Non-actionable Incident Report (NA): This is a written report of an incident involving sexual assault, dating violence, and/or stalking. A verbal report of an incident of sexual assault, dating violence, and/or stalking to any college staff member with the exception of University Police and the staff of Health Services and the Counseling Center will result in the filing of a NA. The victim may choose to write the NA, or to have the staff member write it on their behalf. In either case, the NA is forwarded to the Violence Against Women Grant Coordinator, and no further action is taken unless the victim requests either criminal or campus disciplinary action. The purpose of the NA is to document that an incident occurred in the event that the victim chooses to pursue action at a later point in time. The NA is filed in a secure location and is not part of the victim’s or the accused student’s files.

Privacy:  Information contained in a student’s educational record is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).  In general, FERPA guarantees privacy of records for all students.  FERPA assures that only individuals at any college who have a “legitimate educational need to know” may access a student’s record.  (For the full college policy on FERPA see  /studenthandbook

Rape:  Rape is a crime which is a form of criminal sexual assault.  Every state has its own definitions of rape (please see criminal sexual assault).  For a definition of New York State law, please see NYS penal law article 130.  In general, rape is actual or attempted penetration accomplished by threats, coercion, or physical force.  It includes nonconsensual vaginal, anal, or oral penetration by penis, finger, or any object.  In the following circumstances, actual or attempted penetration is rape, because under NYS law, it is impossible for the following to give consent:  individuals who are under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances; who are physically helpless (including sleeping); who are under the age of 17; who are mentally incapacitated; and/or who are mentally disabled.  Men and women, irrespective of sexual orientation, may be either perpetrators or victims. (8)

Sexual Assault:  Any act of violence, either physical or verbal, in which sex is used as a weapon.  At its most basic level, sexual assault refers to any form of nonconsensual sexual activity, which encompasses all unwanted sexual acts from intimidation to touching to penetration.  Sexual assault is an act of aggression designed to humiliate, intimidate, control, or instill fear. (9)

Sexual Violence:  Sexual violence is a broad term that encompasses sexual assault, ranging from verbal harassment to sexual assault or abuse to rape and sexual homicide.(10)  The perpetrator of sexual violence may be a stranger, friend, family member, or intimate partner.  It is important to note that 90% of college rape victims know their offenders.(11)

Stalking:  Stalking is defined as non-consensual communication with, and/or harassment of another person.(12)  It is the willful, malicious and repeated harassing or threatening  of another person which, as a pattern, tends to escalate in both intensity and frequency over time and can last for many years.(13)  Stalking includes a direct or implied threat, and victims often report fear for their safety.(14) Stalking is about power and control.  Stalkers control the time, type, amount, and place of contact.(15)  No matter what the motivation for stalking, the unwanted behaviors are the same and may include, but are not limited to: repeated following, repeated telephone calls and hang-ups; letters; unwanted gifts and packages; spreading harmful gossip about victims; breaking-and-entering that can include vandalism, theft, or even simply rearranging objects so that victims know the stalker was there.  Stalkers may also enlist their friends or associates to help them stalk or have their associates speak with friends of the victim to obtain information.(16) 
 
Threaten:  To express an intention to inflict pain, injury, or harm.(17)

Victim Assistance Services, Inc.:  Victim Assistance Services, Inc. is a not-for-profit community agency that provides counseling, outreach, prevention, and education programs on sexual assault and other crimes throughout Westchester County.  Victim Assistance Services is located at 2269 Saw Mill River Road #3 in Elmsford.  The phone number is (914) 345-3113. 

Victim/survivor impact statement:  A written or oral communication provided by a victim during a judicial hearing.  The victim impact statement describes the effect that the alleged behavior has had on the physical, emotional, social, and educational dimensions of the victim’s life.

Victim, Survivor, Victim/Survivor:  “Terms used interchangeably by people who have experienced sexual assault and by the professionals who interact with them.  ‘Victim’ is often associated with the early trauma following a rape of sexual assault and emphasizes the fact that a crime has been committed.  The terms ‘survivor’ and ‘victim/survivor’ emerged as part of the sexual assault victim’s rights movement to describe individuals who have experienced a violent incident, but no longer want any association with the perpetrator or the stigma of being viewed as remaining under the rapist’s influence and control.  In other words, the victim is now dealing with the trauma of the crime, which has been put into a perspective that allows her, as a survivor, to go on with life without the extensive, negative disruption created by the assault.”(18)

1. National Drug Intelligence Center (2004). Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault Fast Facts. [On-line]. Available: http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs8/8872/#What
2. Antonia Abbey, et al., “Alcohol and Sexual Assault,” Alcohol Health and Research World, 2001 25(1): 43-51.
3. Security on Campus, Inc. (2004), “Complying with the Jeanne Clery Act,” 30 June 2004 .
4. Tapestri, Inc., “Domestic Violence: What is Domestic Violence,” 30 June 2004 .
5. L.E. Saltzman, et al., “Intimate partner violence surveillance: uniform definitions and recommended data elements, Version 1.0,” National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1999, 30 June 2004 <.
6. The American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd ed. (New York, NY: Dell, 1994) 382.
7. The American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd ed. (New York, NY: Dell, 1994) 439-440.
8. Tapestri, Inc., “Sexual Assault: What is Rape,” 30 June 2004
9. Campus Violence Prevention Resource Guides: Judicial Affairs Representatives, (California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 2003).
10. Campus Violence Prevention Resource Guides: Judicial Affairs Representatives, (California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 2003).
11. Bonnie Fisher, et.al., “The sexual victimization of college women” US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, 2000, 30 June 2004 .
12. Campus Violence Prevention Resource Guides: Judicial Affairs Representatives, (California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 2003).
13. J.R. Meloy and S. Gothard, “A demographic and clinical comparison of obsessional followers and offenders with mental disorders,” American Journal of Psychiatry, 1995: 152, 258-263.
14. Are you Being Stalked (Stalking Resource Center, 2004), 30 June 2004 .
15. D.M. Hall, “The victims of stalking,” The Psychology of Stalking: Clinical and Forensic Perspectives, ed. JR Meloy (San Diego: Academic Press, 1998) 113-137.
16. Levitz-Spirtz, “Stalking: Terrorism at our Doors – How Social Workers Can Help Victims Fight Back,” Social Work, Oct. 2003, 58(4): 504.
17. The American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd ed. (New York, NY: Dell, 1994) 840.
18. Campus Violence Prevention Resource Guides: Judicial Affairs Representatives, (California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 2003).