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Consent

The university’s policy on sexual misconduct and relationship violence defines “consent” as an active agreement to participate.

The University of Tennessee is committed to creating and maintaining a safe and non-discriminatory learning, living, and working environment free from Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, Stalking, and Retaliation.

“Consent” means an active agreement to participate in Sexual Contact or Sexual Penetration. An active agreement is words and/or conduct that communicate a person’s willingness to participate in Sexual Contact or Sexual Penetration. The following individuals cannot give valid Consent:


▪ A person who is Incapacitated, if either the person claiming to have obtained Consent knows that the other person is Incapacitated or a Reasonable Person would know that the other person is Incapacitated;

▪ A person who is Forced to participate in Sexual Contact or Sexual Penetration; or

▪ A person who is under the age of eighteen (18), unless the person giving Consent is at least the age of thirteen (13) and the other person is less than four (4) years older than the person giving Consent. Appendix B explains how the University determines whether Consent was obtained. Persons subject to this Policy are responsible for understanding and conforming their conduct to the standards described in this Section 4 and Appendix B.

▪ Silence, unless accompanied by non-verbal conduct conveying a willingness to participate in Sexual Contact or Sexual Penetration;

▪ Consent communicated by the person on a previous occasion;

▪ Consent communicated to a third person;

▪ The person’s failure to resist physical force (however, for purposes of the Policy, the person’s resistance to physical force will be viewed as a clear demonstration that the person has not communicated Consent);

▪ A current or previous dating, romantic, intimate, or sexual relationship with the other person;

▪ Currently or previously cohabitating with the other person;

▪ The person’s attire, reputation, giving or acceptance of gifts, sexual arousal, or extension or acceptance of an invitation to go to a private residence, room, or other location.

▪ One’s own use of alcohol, drugs, or other substances does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain Consent from the other person. Another person’s use of alcohol, drugs, or other substances does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain Consent from that person.

Read the full Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, Stalking, and Retaliation (pdf)

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