Connecticut College’s goals regarding sexual respect

When Connecticut College students matriculate, they pledge to “uphold standards of behavior governed by honor” and to conduct themselves “with integrity, civility, and the utmost respect for the dignity of all human beings.” Thus, respect for others is embedded in the foundation of a Connecticut College education.

Respect is also central in all healthy relationships. Currently, with headlines frequently highlighting sexual misconduct on college campuses across the U.S., it is especially important for us to focus on a form of respect not often articulated: sexual respect.

Sexual respect involves each partner in a relationship knowing how to make sure that the other partner consents to each step of intimacy. Each partner must also understand that a person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening or are disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or drugs (see the Sexual Misconduct Policies in the Student Handbook). Obtaining consent is central to the College’s sexual misconduct policy.

Connecticut College’s goal is to create an environment that fosters caring and respectful relationships at all levels—an environment in which sexual assault and harassment are rare occurrences. This is a challenging goal, but it is of the highest importance. The College provides a network of opportunities for involvement in this effort. Offices, clubs and academic departments design events around these topics; the Theater Department stages relevant plays; the Gender and Women’s Studies, Sociology, and Psychology Departments offer related courses and student research opportunities. And our students often lead the way through their creative participation in groups such as SafetyNet and Green Dot. These groups are helping to educate our student body about how to prevent sexual misconduct.

Our goals also include addressing sexual misconduct in a thorough and fair manner when it does occur. (See the Policies section.) We understand that changing a culture takes commitment and energy, and that the entire community must be engaged. Our President is calling on faculty, staff, and students to rise to the challenge to create a campus community in which healthy, respectful relationships are the norm.