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Sexual Violence and Relationship Violence Policy

Johnson & Wales University prohibits sexual assault, other unlawful sexual activity, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, and offers programs aimed at the prevention of such offenses. These offenses are violations of law as well as the university’s Student Code of Conduct. A summary of the basic elements of each such offense is set forth below.

Sexual Assault and Other Unlawful Sexual Activity

Sexual assault is any nonconsensual oral, vaginal or anal sex or any other nonconsensual penetration of the genital or anal opening, however slight, by any part of a person’s body or by any object, including instructing an individual to penetrate his/her own genital or anal opening, or engage in oral sex, against his/her will.

Sexual assault and other unlawful sexual activity generally encompass the following:

  • Nonconsensual
  • Sexual activity
  • For purposes of sexual arousal, gratification or abuse

Nonconsensual sexual activity takes place when the victim does not or cannot (because the victim is incapacitated) give intelligent, knowing and voluntary consent.

Consent is a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.

  • Past consent does not imply future consent.
  • Silence or absence of resistance, by itself, does not imply consent.
  • Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
  • Coercion, force, or threat of force invalidates consent.

Sexual activity includes not only intercourse, but any penetration into a genital or anal opening of a victim with a body part or any object. It also includes other sexual contact such as being touched by or being forced to touch (with your hand or any other part of your body) another person’s sex organs, breasts, groin, buttocks or anus (whether clothed or unclothed) or being touched in or around any of these places (whether clothed or unclothed) by another person. When any of these activities appears to be for the purposes of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse on the part of one person and is nonconsensual on the part of the other person, it will constitute unlawful sexual activity.

Statutory rape and incest are also prohibited.

Dating Violence

Dating violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with a victim. The existence of such a relationship is determined based on consideration of the length and type of relationship and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence includes crimes of violence where the parties involved

  • are current or former spouses (or persons similarly situated to a spouse or that cohabitated as spouses);
  • have a child in common; or
  • have or had another relationship covered by the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction (such as individuals related by blood or marriage or current or former household members)


Stalking means a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to

  • fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
  • suffer substantial emotional distress

If there is reason to believe that Johnson & Wales University’s rules prohibiting any of these offenses have been violated, either on or off campus, the administration may pursue disciplinary action through the university’s Conduct Review Process, Human Resources & Payroll, and/or through any other available procedures.

In considering these offenses, the university will, if required by law, refer to the laws of Rhode Island, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and Massachusetts. The state law definitions of sexual assault (and consent), dating violence, domestic violence and stalking in Rhode Island, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and Massachusetts are available upon request from the Gender Equity Center, the nondiscrimination coordinator and Campus Safety & Security (see Getting Help).

Johnson & Wales University strives to be supportive and accommodating for all victims of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and other unlawful sexual activity. University representatives (see Getting Help) will make every effort to help in these ways:

  1. We will meet with you privately at a place of your choice on campus to take a statement and explain your options.
  2. We will treat information that you share with the highest level of discretion. The university’s crime log will not include identifying information about the victim to the extent permissible by law.
  3. We will do our best to honor your request to maintain confidentiality, provided your request does not interfere with our obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students. Please be advised that if we honor a request to maintain confidentiality, our ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the Respondent will be limited. 
  4. If we cannot honor your request to maintain confidentiality, we will inform you and, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for handling our response to the incident.
  5. We will not prejudge you.
  6. We will treat you and your particular situation with courtesy, sensitivity, dignity, understanding and professionalism.
  7. If you feel more comfortable talking with either a female or a male counselor or representative, we will do our best to accommodate your request.
  8. We will assist you in arranging for any hospital treatment or medical needs.
  9. We can assist you in privately contacting local law enforcement officials, counseling, Campus Safety & Security, advising, and other available resources, both on campus and in the community.
  10. We will fully investigate your report with respect and discretion.
  11. We will continue to be available for you — to answer your questions, explain the systems and processes involved, and be willing listeners.
  12. We will consider your report seriously, regardless of your gender or the gender of the alleged violator.
  13. We will make reasonable accommodations and take interim measures for your safety and well-being.

Johnson & Wales University prohibits retaliation against any individual who has made a good faith complaint, who has cooperated in the investigation of such a complaint, or who has participated in the Conduct Review Process. Anyone found to have engaged in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination or dismissal. See the university's Retaliation policy.

See the additional Sexual Violence & Relationship Violence Policy pages:

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