Yale requires positive, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement to engage in specific sexual activity throughout a sexual encounter. Consent does not mean the absence of a “no.” A clear “yes,” verbal or otherwise, is necessary. Yale’s definition of consent reflects the University’s high expectations and permits discipline for behavior that does not meet a criminal standard. For example, the UWC may find that an encounter took place without coercion, force, or threat of force (criteria often associated with the term “rape”) but still deem it to have lacked the unambiguous ongoing agreement that constitutes consent under the Yale standard. Any sexual encounter shown to fall short of this high expectation is, under Yale’s policies, a form of “non-consensual sex” or “non-consensual sexual activity.”
February 3, 2014 update: Based on feedback from the Yale community, including input from the 2013-14 student advisory boards, Yale discontinued the use of the term “non-consensual sex” in the semi-annual reports of complaints of sexual misconduct.