By, Heather Warner
California’s governor is considering a bill that would require college students get “affirmative consent” from both parties before engaging in sexual activity…and the outcome could rewrite the rules of consent at schools nationwide.
California lawmakers approved the so-called “yes mean yes” bill last week — and sent it to Governor Jerry Brown to sign.
The legislation has the support of victims’ rights groups, violence prevention groups and the University of California system. Critics worry though, it could define a great deal of sexual activity as “sexual assault,” and undermine due process rights of the accused.
Even if Brown vetoes the bill, consent will still be defined on the University of California’s ten campuses as an “affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.”
Schools nationwide already have, or are in the process of rewriting their sexual assault policies to meet standards in the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act.
It took effect in 2013 as part of the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act.