Consent

Mount Holyoke College believes that all sexual activity should be consensual. Therefore, consent must be obtained prior to engaging in any sexual activity, and for each new sexual activity. Any sexual act that occurs without consent may be considered a sexual assault and/or sexual misconduct.

  • It is the responsibility of the initiator to obtain consent. All students are encouraged to communicate openly about what they do and do not want. Students may be held responsible for NOT OBTAINING consent. Students will not be held responsible if they do not GIVE consent.
  • If the sexual interaction is mutually initiated, both parties are equally responsible for getting and giving consent.
  • The use of alcohol or other drugs does not minimize a student’s responsibility for perpetrating sexual assault or sexual misconduct. Being under the influence of alcohol or any other drug does not excuse behavior. In particular, it does not mitigate or nullify a charge of sexual assault or sexual misconduct.
  • Consent is required for each separate sexual activity (i.e. kissing, touching, penetration). Any party has the right to give consent for specific activities and not others.
  • Everyone has the right to change their mind and withdraw consent at any time.
  • Consent must be a free choice. A person cannot give consent if her ability to understand and give informed consent is impaired in any way.
  • Consent is not valid if the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, is mentally impaired, is underage, or has experienced the explicit or implied use of force, coercion, threats, and/or intimidation.
  • The ability to give consent freely may also be jeopardized if the initiator is in a position of power over the student, such as a professor, employer, or functioning in a supervisory capacity.
  • Silence is not consent.