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Consent

What is Consent? 

Consent is an affirmative informed decision to willingly engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent requires a clear affirmative act or statement by each participant to each sexual act in a sexual interaction. Relying solely on non-verbal communication can lead to miscommunications about one’s intent.  Confusion or ambiguity may arise at any time during a sexual interaction. Therefore, it is essential that each participant makes clear his or her willingness to continue at each progression of the sexual interaction.

What is Consent NOT

Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity or lack of active response alone.  A person who is asleep, unconscious or otherwise unaware of what is happening is unable to give consent.  Furthermore, a current or past dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent in every instance, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.  It is the responsibility of the person initiating the sexual activity to obtain consent from their partner.  Being intoxicated or under the influence of other drugs does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.

What about Consent and Alcohol? 

The use of alcohol or drugs can limit or prevent a person’s ability to freely and clearly give consent.  If a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs such that they do not understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent.  If the person initiating the sexual activity is also under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, that does not diminish their responsibility to obtain consent, and is not a defense to charges of violation of this policy.  Because it may be difficult to discern whether one’s sexual partner is incapacitated, people are strongly encouraged to err on the side of caution; e.g. when in doubt, if you and/or your partner have consumed alcohol and/or other drugs, assume that the other person is under the influence and therefore unable to give consent to sexual activity. 

In addition to alcohol or other drugs, if a person’s mental, physical or psychological disability (temporary or permanent) impairs his or her ability to make an informed decision to willingly engage in sexual activity, there is no consent.

Check out the video below by Blue Seat Studios, that explains how Consent is like Tea.

Additional information on consent can be found at:

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Under Title IX, sexual violence is a severe form of sexual harassment. Sexual violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at the University of New Mexico. Sexual violence may be committed by a stranger, an acquaintance or someone with whom the victim is involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Victims of sexual violence are encouraged to report what happened to law enforcement and seek assistance from any of the resources, on and off campus, listed in this publication. 

Please contact UNM's Title IX Coordinator, Heather Cowan, at hbcowan@unm.edu for more information about Title IX.