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Title IX Terms and Definitions

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Adverse Action

Adverse Action means an action that has a substantial and material adverse effect on the Complainant's ability to participate in a college program or activity free from Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation. Trivial actions or conduct not reasonably likely to do more than anger or upset a Complainant does not constitute an Adverse Action.


The Complainant and the Respondent may each elect to be accompanied by an Advisor to any meeting or interview regarding the allegations. The Advisor may be anyone, including a union representative from the Complainant’s or Respondent’s collective bargaining unit, an attorney, or, in the case of the Complainant, a Sexual Assault Victim’s Advocate, provided the Advisor is not a person with information relevant to the allegations who may be interviewed by the Investigator during the investigation. The Advisor may not answer questions regarding the subject matter of the investigation for the Complainant or the Respondent. However, the Advisor may observe and consult with the Complainant or Respondent and take appropriate action to ensure that the investigation does not violate applicable laws, policies, or collective bargaining agreements.


Complainant means an individual who is eligible to file a Complaint to report a violation of this policy. It also includes any person who is reported to have experienced a violation of this policy in cases where some other person has made a report on that person’s behalf. A Complainant may also be referred to as a party to the Complaint.

Confidential Resources for Sierra College

Under Title IX, all college employees are required to report any Title IX infraction that comes to their attention. The employee is mandated to report this information to the Sierra College Title IX Officer. Title IX allows colleges to exempt certain employees from reporting to minimize barriers that may inhibit students from sharing personal information.

Sierra College has exempted the following positions from mandated Title IX Campus Advocate Counselors, Family Nurse Practitioners and Licensed Therapists working in Health Services, and the Dean of Student Services–Counseling.


A sexual “affirmative” meaning there is sexual activity between the participants. There is no coercion or intimidation. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has affirmative consent of the other participant(s) to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not imply consent. Silence does not imply consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.

The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent. Consent cannot be given when a person is asleep, unconscious, or incapacitated. Incapacitation can be due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, to the extent that they cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity. Nor can consent be given if a person is unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.

Watch “Yes Means Yes,” a video about Consent Law.

Dating Violence

Controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior, which can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or a combination of these during the dating process, in heterosexual or same sex relationships. The existence of a romantic or intimate relationship will be determined based on the length of the relationship, the type of relationship and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.


A mental health condition that centers on a need to expose one’s genitals to other people.


Gender means sex, and includes a person’s gender identity and gender expression. Gender expression means a person’s gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth. Sex includes but is not limited to pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or associated medical condition(s). They are Protected Statuses.

Gender-based Discrimination

Discrimination based on a person’s gender or sex.

Gender-based Harassment

Verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostile conduct based on sex, sex-stereotyping, sexual orientation or gender identity, but not involving conduct of a sexual nature, when such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it interferes with or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from education or work programs or activities.


Harassment means unwelcome conduct, based on the Complainant’s Protected Status, that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that its effect, whether or not intended, could be considered by a reasonable person in the shoes of the Complainant, and is in fact considered by the Complainant, as limiting their ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or opportunities offered by the College.

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner Violence is defined as abuse committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the survivor and includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a:

  • Current or former spouse of the survivor
  • Person with whom the survivor shares a child in common
  • Person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the survivor as a spouse
  • Person similarly situated to a spouse of the survivor under California law
  • Any other person against an adult or youth survivor who is protected from that person’s acts under California law.


Investigator means the person tasked by a Campus with investigating a Complaint. All Investigators shall receive annual training regarding such issues as the laws governing Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation; Title IX and VAWA/Campus SaVE Act; as well as other related state and federal laws prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation based on Gender or Sex, including Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating and Domestic Violence, and Stalking; Complainant, Respondent, Employee, and witness privacy rights; and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). For matters involving Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating or Domestic Violence or Stalking, the Investigator shall also receive annual training on how to conduct an investigation process that protects the safety of the Complainant(s) and the University community.

If delegated, the DHR Administrator or the Title IX Coordinator (for Complaints alleging Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating or Domestic Violence, or Stalking) shall monitor, supervise, and oversee the investigation to ensure that it is conducted in accordance with the standards, procedures and timelines set forth in this policy.

The Investigator shall not be within the administrative control or authority of any Respondent CSU Employee. The Investigator may be the DHR Administrator, the Title IX Coordinator, or their designee, provided that any designee shall be an MPP Employee or an external consultant.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Touching of intimate body parts such as genitalia, groin, breast, buttocks, or mouth or any clothing covering them, without consent; the removal of another person's clothes without consent; touching a person with one's own intimate body parts without consent; compelling another to touch one's intimate body parts without consent; or any other intentional sexual touching with any object by a person upon another person, without consent.

Preponderance of the Evidence

Preponderance of the Evidence means the greater weight of the evidence; i.e., that the evidence on one side outweighs, preponderates over, or is more than, the evidence on the other side. The Preponderance of the Evidence is the applicable standard for demonstrating facts and reaching conclusions in an investigation conducted pursuant to Sierra College Administrative Procedure 3435.

Protected Status

Protected Status includes Age, Disability, Gender, Genetic Information, Gender Identity or Expression, Nationality, Marital Status, Race or Ethnicity, Religion, Sexual Orientation, and Veteran or Military Status.


Under California Penal Code 261, rape is summarized as sexual intercourse against an individual's will accomplished by force or threats of bodily injury; or fear that the victim or another will be injured if the victim does not submit to the intercourse; or where the victim is incapable of giving consent or prevented from resisting due to being intoxicated, drugged, or unconscious or asleep.

For more information go to Rape Abuse Incest National Network RAINN


Sexual exploitation in which abuse of power is the means of coercion, as well as to the category of sexual exploitation in which threatened release of sexual images or information is the means of coercion.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault occurs when physical sexual activity is engaged without the consent of the other person or when the other person is unable to consent to the activity. The activity or conduct may include physical force, violence, threat, or intimidation, ignoring the objections of the other person, causing the other person's intoxication or incapacitation through the use of drugs or alcohol, or taking advantage of the other person's incapacitation (including voluntary intoxication).

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical contact of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is conduct that explicitly or implicitly affects a person’s employment or education; interferes with a person’s work or educational performance; or, creates an environment such that a reasonable person would find the conduct intimidating, hostile, or offensive.

Sexual harassment may include incidents between any members of the District community, including faculty and other academic appointees, staff, students, student employees, coaches, interns, and non-student or non-employee participants in District programs. Sexual harassment may occur in hierarchical relationships, between peers or between individuals of the same sex. Some examples of harassing behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • Insults, name-calling, and offensive jokes
  • Intimidating words or actions
  • Unwelcome or inappropriate touching
  • Sexually suggestive remarks or gestures
  • Unsolicited pornographic materials
  • Obscene messages (via text or computer)
  • Pressure for sexual activity or a date
  • Sexual assault and rape

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct includes a range of behavior used to obtain sexual gratification against another’s will or at the expense of another. Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, and any conduct of a sexual nature that is without consent or has the effect of threatening or intimidating the person against whom such conduct is directed.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is defined as physical sexual acts engaged without the consent of the other person or when the other person is unable to consent to the activity. Sexual violence includes sexual assault, rape, battery, sexual coercion, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.


Stalking is a pattern of behavior that makes you feel afraid, nervous, harassed or in danger. It is when someone repeatedly contacts you, follows you, sends you things, talks to you when you don't want them to or threatens you. Stalking behaviors can include:

  • Damaging your property
  • Knowing your schedule
  • Showing up at places you go
  • Sending mail, e-mail, texts and pictures
  • Creating a website about you
  • Sending gifts
  • Stealing things that belong to you
  • Calling you repeatedly
  • Any other actions that the stalker takes to contact, harass, track or frighten you

You can be stalked by someone you know casually, a current boyfriend or girlfriend, someone you dated in the past or a stranger. Getting notes and gifts at your home, on your car or other places might seem sweet and harmless to other people. But if you don't want the gifts, phone calls, messages, letters or e-mails, it doesn't feel sweet or harmless. It can be scary and frustrating.

Sometimes people stalk their boyfriends or girlfriends while they're dating. They check up on them, text or call them all the time, expect instant responses, follow them, use GPS to secretly monitor them and generally keep track of them, even when they haven't made plans to be together. These stalking behaviors can be part of an abusive relationship. If this is happening to you or someone you know, you should talk to a trusted person.

Stalking is a crime and can be dangerous. California Penal Code section 646.9, in part, states, “Any person who 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 is guilty of the crime of stalking."