Glossary of Terms

​This glossary is intended to help you understand terms frequently used in DCCCD’s nondiscrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct policies.

In any case where the glossary and DCCCD policy do not seem to match, DCCCD policy should be relied on as the authoritative source.

Allegation. An allegation is a statement made by an individual who believes a violation of DCCCD policy has occurred.

Bystander. A person who is present at an event or incident but does not take part.

Bystander intervention. If you see something, say something in a nonconfrontational manner and ask if the person needs help.

Complaint or grievance. Notification, either orally or in writing, of the belief that a violation has occurred.

Complainant. Complainant refers to the person making the allegation or complaint.

Consent. Knowing, voluntary and clear permission, by word or action, to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.

  • a. For consent to be valid and considered voluntary, it must be free from threat, force, intimidation, extortion and/or undue influence.
  • b. In order for consent to be given competently, both parties (people) must be able to consent. If one of the parties is unable to consent, due to, among other things, drug or alcohol use, then that person lacks the ability to consent.

Days. Refers to calendar days. DCCCD holidays (i.e., days when DCCCD is officially closed) are excluded from the computation of time. If a duration of time ends on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is extended to the following DCCCD business day.

Decision maker. In the case of students, the student conduct officer or a designated representative.

Deputy Title IX coordinator. A DCCCD employee designated to assist the Title IX coordinator in the administration of the responsibilities related to Title IX matters. This person may also serve as an investigator.

Designated administrator. An administrator responsible for student discipline or employee grievance in an administrative conference or hearing panel in the Title IX resolution process.

Discrimination. The intentional or unintentional treatment of any member or visitor of the DCCCD community less favorably than those similarly situated based on race, color, religion, age, disability, sex, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic predisposition, veteran status or on any other basis prohibited by federal, state or local law.

False claim. An untrue statement or claim made knowingly by a person to gain a benefit or reward.

Gender. Complex relationship between physical traits and one’s internal sense of self as male, female, both or neither as well as one’s outward presentations and behaviors related to that perception. Biological sex and gender are different; gender is not inherently connected to one’s physical anatomy.

Gender expression. Refers to the ways in which people externally communicate their gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, haircut, voice and other forms or presentations. It can also work the other way as people assign gender to others based on appearance, mannerisms and other characteristics.

Gender identity. Inner concept of self as male, female, both or neither. This identity can be the same or different than the gender assigned at birth.

Harassment. Unwelcome conduct on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class, including but not limited to race, color, religion, age, disability, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and/or veteran status. Harassment is further defined as behavior so severe that it limits or denies an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from his or her work or educational environment, creates a hostile environment or allows for the abuse of authority.

Inherent authority. The college district reserves the right to take necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the college district community.

Interpersonal violence. Acts of dominance in which at least one individual imposes, or attempts to impose, his or her will on another individual or group in a way that threatens the other person’s rights, safety or welfare, or that of a group of people.

Investigation. The process DCCCD uses to resolve complaints/grievances. This includes the fact-finding investigation and any hearing and decision-making process used to determine:

  1. whether the conduct occurred and
  2. if the conduct occurred, what actions will be taken to end the offending conduct, eliminate the hostile environment and prevent its recurrence.

Investigative report. The report created by the investigator, which includes: a summary of the complaint; description of the investigation, including names of people interviewed with dates, list of documents reviewed and findings.

Investigator. A trained person designated as an investigator by the Office of Institutional Equity or the Office of General Counsel who conducts a fact-finding inquiry (investigation) and writes an investigative report.

Privileged. Information that is protected by law and cannot be disclosed to (shared with) anyone else without your permission. Individuals commonly, but not always, protected by statutory privilege (legal privilege) are religious leaders, therapists and domestic violence/rape crisis advocates.

Reasonable person. A person who exercises (uses) average care, skill and judgment in conduct (behavior).

Relationship violence. Also known as intimate partner violence; includes domestic and dating violence; any act of violence or pattern of abusive behavior that occurs within an intimate relationship and is used by one partner to gain or maintain power/control over the other partner.

Respondent. The person against whom an allegation or complaint is made.

Responsible employee. Any employee who has authority to take action to resolve sexual misconduct, who has been given the duty of reporting sexual misconduct to the Title IX coordinator or other appropriate party (person), or whom a student or employee could reasonably believe has such authority or duty.

Retaliation. Any harmful or hostile action taken against a person participating in a protected activity because of their participation in that protected activity. This includes action taken against a student or employee for reporting or intervening to stop discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct. Retaliation includes intimidating, threatening or in any way discriminating against an individual because of the individual’s complaint or participation in the investigation or grievance process.

Sexual exploitation. Taking nonconsensual, sexual advantage of another person for personal gain or profit.

Sexual harassment. Unwelcomed sexual attention or interaction or request for sexual favors based on gender. To be considered harassment, the behavior must be severe, persistent or pervasive so that it unreasonably interferes with the work or educational environment or creates a hostile environment.

Sexual misconduct. Acts of sex/gender-based discrimination or harassment, sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, relationship violence, sex/gender-based stalking and any other conduct that threatens the health and safety of any person on the basis of actual, expressed or perceived gender identity. For definitions of these terms, please see DCCCD’s Sexual Misconduct policy. See below for some examples of sexual misconduct.

Sexual orientation. Refers to being romantically or sexually attracted to people of a specific gender. Sexual orientation and gender identity are separate, distinct parts of our overall identity.

Sexual violence. Physical, sexual acts carried out against a person’s will or when a person is unable to give consent.

Stalking. Conduct (behavior) directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his, her or another’s safety or to suffer substantial emotional distress.

Student/Employee participation. Students and employees may be asked to assume positions of responsibility in the resolution of allegations of sexual misconduct.

Substantial interest. A substantial interest is:

  1. Any action that is a criminal offense as defined by federal, state or local law;
  2. Any situation where it appears that the accused individual may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of self or others;
  3. Any situation that significantly affects the rights, property or achievements of self or others or significantly disturbs the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
  4. Any situation that is harmful to the educational interests of DCCCD.

Title IX coordinator. Each college within DCCCD has a Title IX coordinator who is responsible for administrating responsibilities related to and compliance with Title IX.

Transgender. An individual whose gender identity does not match their assigned birth gender. A person whose identity or behavior falls outside of stereotypical gender norms.

Examples of Sexual Misconduct/Violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy

Here are a few examples of behavior that would be considered either sexual misconduct and/or violations of the sexual misconduct policy. Please note that these examples are not all-inclusive.

  1. Amanda and Bill meet at a party. They spend the evening dancing and getting to know each other. Bill convinces Amanda to come to his apartment. From 11 p.m. until 3 a.m., Bill uses every line he can think of to talk Amanda into having sex with him, but she firmly refuses. He keeps at her and begins to question her religious beliefs. He even accuses her of being “a prude.” Finally, Bill thinks he has worn Amanda down, and he convinces her to give him a "hand job" (hand to genital contact). Amanda would never have done it if Bill hadn't kept pushing her. He feels that he successfully seduced her, and that she wanted to do it all along, but was playing shy and hard to get. Why else would she have come to his apartment alone after the party? If she really didn't want it, she could have left. 

    Bill has violated DCCCD’s Sexual Misconduct policy. It is likely that DCCCD decision-makers would find the degree and duration of the pressure Bill applied to Amanda unreasonable. Bill pressured Amanda into performing unwanted sexual touching. Where sexual activity is coerced, it is forced. Sex (including sexual touching) without consent is sexual misconduct. Although the misconduct occurred off-campus, it is still subject to the Sexual Misconduct policy as it may have an ongoing effect on the DCCCD environment.

  2. Kim and Dave have been together for six months. Kim often tells her friends stories of Dave’s sexual prowess, and decides to prove it to them. One night, she and Dave engage in consensual intercourse. Without Dave’s knowledge, Kim sets up her digital camera to videotape them having sex. The next evening, she uploads the video to an online video-sharing site and discusses it with her friends online.

    This is a form of sexual exploitation and is a violation of the Sexual Misconduct policy. Dave’s consent to engage in sexual intercourse with Kim did not mean she had his consent to videotape it.

  3. Ana filed a complaint alleging that after she broke up with Jeff, Jeff began stalking her. Jeff told his friends about the complaint, and several of them have launched a campaign against Ana on social media threatening to harm her and the witnesses supporting her if she does not drop the complaint.

    The conduct by Jeff’s friends qualifies as retaliation and is a violation of the Sexual Misconduct policy.