SUNY Cortland's Affirmative Consent policy is defined per NYS Education Law 129-B and is consistent among all higher education institutions in New York State. The Affirmative Consent policy applies to all members of our campus community and is the definition found in the Title IX Grievance Policy and Student Code of Conduct.
Affirmative Consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary basic upon a participant's sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, or gender expression. Additionally:
*Note: Sexual coercion is the act of using pressure (emotional an/or verbal), alcohol, or drugs in a persistent manner in order to wear down a victim making them feel obligated to engage in sexual activity with another person when they had already refused or would be doing so against their will.
- Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.
- Consent is require regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
- Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.
- Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in a sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.
- Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion*, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.
- When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.