Education

Education for Northeastern University Community Members


Office of Prevention and Education at Northeastern (OPEN)

OPEN can provide many opportunities, programs, and online modules for learning. They focus on educating the Northeastern community on topics such as alcohol and other drugs, consent and sexual health, and sexual violence. To learn more about offered programs, visit their programs and services website.

Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI)

Northeastern’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion focuses on creating an inclusive environment within the NU community. This is enacted through the creation of affinity groups, sharing of university and community initiatives, opportunities for learning and development, and distribution of resources. They can be contacted via email at diversity@northeastern.edu or through the ODEI online form.


Learn More About Policy Definitions

How does Northeastern define Consent?

Consent means a voluntary, affirmative agreement to engage in sexual activity proposed by another; it requires mutually understandable and communicated words and/or actions that would demonstrate to a reasonable person agreement by both parties to participate in sexual activity. 

What else should I know about consent?

Sexual activity requires Consent from all involved parties. Consent must be freely given, without physical force, threats, intimidating behavior, duress, or coercion. Silence, a lack of resistance, previous sexual relationships or experiences and/or a current relationship may not, in itself, constitute Consent. The initiator, or the person who wants to engage in the specific sexual activity, must obtain Consent from the partner(s) for each sexual act. Each participant may be an initiator at different points of sexual activity. If confusion or ambiguity arises during sexual activity, participants are encouraged to stop and clarify a mutual willingness to continue that activity.

A person’s initiation of a sexual act constitutes Consent to that act, but not necessarily to subsequent acts. Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time and the withdrawal must be communicated in mutually understandable words and/or actions; if so, sexual activity must cease immediately. Consent may never be given by minors (in Massachusetts, minors for these purposes are those not yet 16 years of age), or those who are unable to understand the who, what, when, where, why, or how of their sexual activities as a result of incapacitation due to a cognitive disability, intoxication by alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntary or involuntary), or those who are unconscious, or otherwise physically helpless.

Engaging in sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol or drugs may create ambiguity for either party as to whether Consent has been sought or given. A person who has consumed alcohol and/or drugs still has a responsibility to obtain Consent for any sexual activity with another person(s). Being impaired by alcohol or other drugs is no defense to any violation of this Policy.

What is a Mandatory University Reporter?

Mandatory University Reporter refers to any university community member (excluding Confidential Employees), including faculty, staff, and student workers who assume roles which other students may reasonably believe obligate that student worker to report allegations of a Prohibited Offense. [1]  This includes but is not limited to Resident Assistants in Residential Life, Graduate Research Assistants or Teaching Assistants. Mandatory University Reporters are required to immediately report allegations of Prohibited Offenses to the Title IX Coordinator.

This includes but is not limited to Resident Assistants in Residential Life, Graduate Research Assistants or Teaching Assistants. Mandatory University Reporters are required to immediately report allegations of Prohibited Offenses to the Title IX Coordinator.

Click here for more information: Support for Mandatory Reporters

What is a Complainant?

Complainant means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute a potential violation of the university’s Policy on Equal Opportunity, the Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Title IX, and/or the Policy on Non-Fraternization.

What is a Respondent?

Respondent means the individual who is alleged to have violated the university’s Policy on Equal Opportunity, the Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Title IX, and/or the Policy on Non-Fraternization.

What are micro-aggressions?

Commonplace daily verbal, behavioral or environmental slights, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes toward stigmatized or culturally marginalized groups. While one microaggression, on its own, may not rise to the level of a policy violation for discrimination, we ask the community to report microaggressions to help identify trends, determine whether further investigation is needed, and/or address potentially concerning behavior proactively.

What is discrimination?

Inequitable treatment of a person based on their race, color, religion, religious creed, genetic information, sex (including pregnancy or pregnancy related condition), gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, veteran or disability status.

What is disparate treatment?

Differential treatment of an individual or group of individuals based on their protected category

What is discriminatory harassment?

Conduct targeted at someone based on their protected category is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, or deprives an individual from participating in or benefiting from, the university’s education or employment programs and/or activities.

What is gender-based harassment?

Harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression that has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile living, learning, or working environment.

What is sexual harassment?

Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s participation in a university program or activity or creates a hostile environment for an individual’s participation in a university program or activity.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual contact (intentional sexual touching of intimate body parts) or sexual intercourse (oral, vaginal, or anal penetration) occurring without the consent of all parties involved and/or through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion.

What is sexual exploitation?

Taking non-consensual sexual advantage of another. May include (1) inducing incapacitation for the purposes of sexual activity, (2) photographing, filming, audio recording sexual activity or (3) voyuerism.

What is domestic violence?

The intentional infliction of physical, sexual, or psychological harm on a current or former partner or spouse. This includes intimate partner violence and dating violence.

What is stalking?

A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their own safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.