Title IX Definitions

The regulations regarding Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 can be found on the Department of Justice website


Below are key terms as defined by WVU Board of Governors Policy 44 in regards to the Title IX regulation.

  • Consent
  • Domestic Misconduct/Intimate Partner Violence
  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Stalking
  • Retaliation


“Consent” is defined as agreement, approval, or permission as to some act or purpose that is given knowingly, willingly, and voluntarily by a competent person. A person is not competent and therefore lacks the ability to consent where there is either forcible compulsion or incapacity to consent. A person is deemed incapable of consent when that person is either less than sixteen years old, mentally incapacitated, or physically unable to resist. It is important to remember that silence, by itself, cannot constitute consent. Consent to one sexual act does not constitute or imply consent to a different sexual act. Previous consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts. Consent is required regardless of the parties’ relationship status or sexual history together.

Domestic Misconduct/Intimate Partner Violence

“Domestic misconduct” means “domestic violence” and “dating violence” as defined below.

"Domestic Violence" means (i) unlawfully and intentionally making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with one’s family or household member(s); (ii) unlawfully and intentionally causing physical harm to one’s family or household member(s); (iii) unlawfully attempting to commit a violent injury against one’s family or household member(s); or (iv) unlawfully committing an act which places one’s family or household member(s) in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.

"Dating Violence" means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship; the type of relationship; and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Sexual Misconduct

“Sexual misconduct” means “sexual assault” and “sexual exploitation” as defined below. It is a broad term used to encompass unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is prohibited by Title IX and West Virginia University.

"Sexual Assault" means sexual intercourse or sexual contact that occurs without consent.

"Sexual Contact" means any intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the breasts,buttocks, anus or any part of the sex organs of another person, or intentional touching of any part of another person’s body by the actor’s sex organs.

"Sexual intercourse" is defined as anal, oral, or vaginal penetration, however slight, by an inanimate object or another’s body part, including, but not limited to a penis, tongue, or finger.

"Sexual exploitation" means taking sexual advantage of another person without his or her consent. Sexual advantage includes, without limitation, causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person in order to gain a sexual advantage over such other person; causing the prostitution of another person; recording, photographing or transmitting identifiable images of private sexual activity and/or the intimate parts of another person; allowing third parties to observe private sexual acts; and engaging in voyeurism.


“Stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (i) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (ii) suffer substantial emotional distress.


“Retaliate” means to take an adverse action against an individual or subject an individual to conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with that individual’s educational experience, work or academic performance, or creates an educational experience or academic or work environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating or hostile because of something that individual did to further this policy, including but not limited to filing a complaint or being a witness in or supporter of or against a complaint.