Consent and Other Key Concepts

Consent for purposes of this policy is defined as that which is:

  • informed,
  • freely and actively given,
  • through mutually understandable words or actions,
  • conveying a clear indication of willingness to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity (or in more plain language-to agree to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way, with each other).

Engaging in any non-consensual sexual activity, as defined below, including with a person whom one knows or should reasonably know to be physically or mentally incapacitated or unable to give consent, including as the result of drugs or alcohol, is a violation of Haverford's community standards and, as such, is unacceptable.

Incapacitation for purposes of this policy is defined as: being incapable of making a rational, reasoned decision regarding intimate sexual activity.

Some important considerations:

  • The same definitions apply whether the individuals involved in the sexual activity are strangers, acquaintances or friends.
  • The consumption of alcohol may impede one's ability to give consent as well as to recognize when consent is not present.
  • The responsibility of obtaining consent is that of the person who wants to engage in sexual activity.
  • Lack of resistance and/or silence does not imply consent. Therefore, relying on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstanding.
  • The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved or the fact of a past sexual relationship does not establish consent.
  • Consent that is obtained through the use of force, threats, intimidation or coercion does not constitute consent for purposes of this policy.


Force is the use or threat of physical violence or intimidation to overcome an individual’s freedom of will to choose whether or not to participate in sexual activity. There is no requirement that a party resists the sexual advance or request, but resistance will be viewed as a clear demonstration of non-consent.


Coercion is the use of pressure to compel another individual to initiate or continue sexual activity against an individual’s will. Coercion can include a wide range of behaviors, including intimidation, manipulation, threats, and blackmail. A person’s words or conduct are sufficient to constitute coercion if they wrongfully impair another individual’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. Examples of coercion include threatening to “out” someone based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression and threatening to harm oneself.


Intercourse includes vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact).

Sexual Touching

Sexual touching is any sexual contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other bodily orifice of another person, or touching another person with any of these body parts, or making another person touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any bodily contact in a sexual manner, even if not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.