A newly-implemented policy at East Carolina University describes touching someone’s neck — even in a very slight way — as a type of sexual battery that will now be subject to potential disciplinary action.
The taxpayer-funded school in Greenville, N.C. defines sexual battery as “the intentional or attempted sexual touching of another person’s clothed or unclothed body, including but not limited to the mouth, neck, buttocks, anus, genitalia, or breast, by another with any part of the body or any object in a sexual manner without their consent.”
The touching can be fleeting and of any kind, “however slight.”
School officials updated the definition as part of an overhaul of nondiscrimination and Title IX policies last semester.
East Carolina’s trustees officially approved the policy on Nov. 20 and the policy took formal effect on Friday, The College Fix reports.
East Carolina’s previous sexual-battery policy made no mention of anyone’s neck. It only discussed “kissing, touching of the genitalia, anus, buttocks or breast of a person.”
A school spokesman with the ECU Office for Equality and Diversity elaborated on the policy in a statement to The Fix.
“If an act of touching is not consented to, and the act was of a sexual nature, then that could constitute a battery,” the statement explained. “The purpose of this is to ensure that each act is consented to by the parties and that consent is active and mutually understood.”
The spokesman noted that school officials had no reason whatsoever to update the policy to include momentarily touching someone’s neck.
“ECU continually evaluates its policies and procedures in this area to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations as well as emerging best practices,” the statement said.
East Carolina’s Clery Act Report from 2015 — which covers the year 2014 — indicates seven reported rapes and four incidences of “fondling.” (RELATED: TWO PEOPLE Have Filed OVER 1,700 Sex Discrimination Complaints With Dept. Of Education)