What is Consent?

NYU's Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking Policy clearly defines affirmative consent as a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Affirmative consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity.

Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. Relying solely on nonverbal communication may result in a violation of this policy.

Consent cannot be obtained through the use of force or coercion or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another individual. A person is incapacitated when they lack the ability to make informed, rational judgments and therefore cannot consent to sexual activity. 

It is important not to make assumptions. If confusion or ambiguity arises, stop and verbally clarify each participant's willingness to continue.

Consent can be withdrawn at any time. When consent is withdrawn, sexual activity must stop immediately.

Prior consent does not imply current or future consent — even in the context of an ongoing relationship. Consent must be freely sought and given for each instance of sexual activity.  

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