Incapacitation describes an individual who lacks the ability
to make informed, rational judgments and cannot consent to sexual activity.
Incapacitation is defined as the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent because the individual is mentally and/or physically helpless, asleep, unconscious, or unaware that sexual activity is occurring.
Incapacitation may result from the use of alcohol and/or drugs. Incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. The impact of alcohol and other drugs varies from person to person.
Warning signs that a person may be approaching incapacitation may include:
- Slurred speech
- Unsteady gait
- Odor of alcohol
- Emotional volatility
Guidance for evaluating incapacitation requires an assessment of how the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs affects an individual, with respect to:
- Decision-making ability
- Awareness of consequences
- Ability to make informed judgments
- Capacity to appreciate the nature and the quality of the act
Evaluating incapacitation also requires an assessment of whether a respondent (person accused of alleged sexual misconduct) should have been aware of the complainant's (person who experienced the conduct's) incapacitation based on objectively and reasonably apparent indications of impairment when viewed from the perspective of a sober, reasonable person in the respondent’s position.
In general, the College considers sexual contact
while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs to be risky behavior.
Alcohol and drugs impair a person’s decision-making capacity, awareness
of consequences, and ability to make informed judgments. It is especially important, therefore, that anyone engaging in sexual activity be aware of the other person’s level of intoxication.
If there is any doubt as to the level or extent of the other individual’s intoxication or impairment, the prudent course of action is to forgo or cease any sexual contact or activity.