Unambiguous, voluntary, and knowing agreement

College of the Atlantic’s Sexual Misconduct Policy clearly defines consent as unambiguous, voluntary, and knowing agreement demonstrated by positive and active participation and cooperation between partners prior to and during a sexual encounter for any kind of sexual activity. Consent can only be given by a person with the capacity to do so and who has not been forced into doing so.

The following are offered to further understanding of the definition of consent:

  • Consent can be given by word or action, but verbal consent is usually the clearest.
  • Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity or the same activity again.
  • Silence—without actions clearly demonstrating permission–cannot be assumed to show consent.
  • Previous sexual encounters with or prior consent from the same partner(s) cannot be assumed to imply consent to future sexual acts.
  • Consent given prior to or during an encounter does not preclude consent being withdrawn later in that same encounter.
  • Consent needs to be obtained each time partners engage in sexual activity.
  • Under this policy, “No” always means “No,” and “Yes,” if produced while a person is being coerced or does not have the capacity to consent, may not always mean “Yes.”

COA’s Sexual Misconduct Policy also describes various factors taken into consideration when evaluating whether consent was given, and offers additional guidance regarding incapacitation. Every member of the COA community is urged and expected to read the policy.

Visual resources

Tea and consent

If you’re still struggling with consent just imagine instead of initiating sex you’re making them a cup of tea.

Alcohol and consent

It’s important to make sure you have consent every time you have sex. The amount someone has had to drink or the drugs they have can affect their ability to consent.

Let’s talk about consent

Written, produced, and directed by NYU students and alumni, this video reflects 18 hours of interviews with students and recent grads at NYU and across New York City who shared what consent means to them, and the importance of starting a brave conversation on campus. Please note: The resources mentioned at the end of the video are specific to NYU, not COA.