Affirmative Consent

St. Lawrence University, as a New York State college, uses the state-compliant Affirmative Consent standard to determine whether a sexual encounter was mutual, voluntary, and knowing. 

Sexual misconduct or contact in the absence of affirmative consent violates the University’s policies. Sexual misconduct includes any sexual act perpetrated against someone’s will.  Sexual violence includes rape, an attempted nonconsensual sex act, abusive sexual contact (i.e., unwanted touching), non-contact sexual abuse (e.g., threatened sexual violence, exhibitionism, verbal sexual harassment), dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.  All types involve victims who do not consent, or who are unable to consent due to incapacitation.

Pursuant to New York State law:

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 based on a participant's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

  a. 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.

  b. Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

  c. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.

  d. Consent cannot be given when a  person is incapacitated,  which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in 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.

  e. Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.

  f. When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.

The health and safety of every student at St. Lawrence University are of utmost importance. St. Lawrence strongly encourages students to report domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to institution officials.  A  bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith that discloses any incident of domestic violence,  dating violence,  stalking or sexual assault to  St. Lawrence’s officials or law enforcement will not be subject to  St. Lawrence’s code of conduct action for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault.