What are the definitions of sexual assault, misconduct and harassment?

Sexual misconduct is a broad term encompassing any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is committed without consent or by force, intimidation, coercion, or manipulation, including both sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Sexual harassment is defined by the University to mean persistent, repetitive, or egregious conduct directed at a specific individual or group of individuals that a reasonable person would interpret, in the full context in which the conduct occurs, as harassment of a sexual nature, when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made or threatened to be made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment, education, on-campus living environment, or participation in a University activity; or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used or threatened to be used as a basis for a decision affecting employment, education, on-campus living environment, or participation in a University activity; or

Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with work or educational performance, or of creating an intimidating or hostile environment for employment, education, on-campus living, or participation in a University activity.

Sexual Assault is a serious crime that is referred to as Sexual Abuse under Iowa Law. It includes any sex act committed against another by force, against the victim's will, or when the victim is unable to consent (whether because the victim is unconscious, or under the influence of a drug the induces sleep, or has a mental disability, or is a child).

Iowa law defines sex act to mean any sexual contact between two or more persons by: penetration of the penis into the vagina or anus; contact between the mouth and genitalia or by contact between the genitalia of one person and the genitalia or anus of another person; contact between the finger or hand of one person and the genitalia or anus of another person, except in the course of examination or treatment by a person licensed pursuant to chapter 148, 148C, 151 or 152; or by use of artificial sexual organs or substitutes therefor in contact with the genitalia or anus.




Consent is:

          Free and affirmative communication

Indicating a willingness to participate in a particular sexual activity or behavior

                Expressed either by words or clear, unambiguously action. Words are best.


It is not consensual if:

                The person does not communicate “yes”

                The person says “no” once you have started

                The person is drunk or on drugs

                The person is unconscious, semi-conscious, or physically incapacitated

                The person is 13 years or younger

                The person is 14 or 15 years old and you are 4 or more years old than them, even if you reasonably believe they are of age.

How are they investigated in Iowa?

Sexual Assault (Abuse) is investigated by law enforcement. Other types of sexual misconduct are investigated by the University or an employer.

What are some resources I can go to if I am a victim of sexual misconduct, harassment or assault?

A student who is a victim of sexual misconduct may contact the office of the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator https://osmrc.uiowa.edu/, RVAP (Rape Victim Advocacy Program)  https://rvap.uiowa.edu/, and or/Law Enforcement.