Students in California will have no doubt noticed that a new bill has been passed in their state and if they intend to be sexually active then it is something they will have to read up on. In short, if a university or college received funding from the state then they will have to have a sexual assault policy drawn up. This will be the first time that there is paperwork to back up the “yes means yes” campaign and there will have to be affirmative consent given.
It is just this week that the State Senate passed the hopefully final version of the act and if approved it will become part of the State’s education code. Jerry Brown the State Governor has time to consider his view as it does not need to be approved until the end of September. So far a decision has not been made according to a spokesman.
The bill was first proposed back in February by state Senators Kevin de Leon and Hannah-Beth Jackson who are both Democrats. Its content demands that University and College boards who are in receipt of state funding for student assistance take up a number of specific policies “concerning sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.”
Mr de Leon has spoken about the reasons for putting forward the bill and the outcomes that was expected. He claims that this means California will “lead the nation” when it comes to sexual assaults on campus and it was needed because “time and time again, university officials have failed our young women.”
One such policy would cover the fact that there needs to be, “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity” that is “ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.”If the bill is passed, it will make California the first state to pass such legislation.
It seems that this legislation is well and truly needed, as over the past few years there have been increasing numbers of students claiming to have been victims of sexual assault and the putting in complaints against the school. As a result it is considered that there will be a lot more scrutiny of universities and colleges by the federal authorities.
The main issue of the latest bill is that if someone does find themselves accused of sexual assault they will not be able to use the fact that they were drunk as a way of claiming that they thought the other party had agreed to sexual activity. It also calls for the victim to be the centre of the policy and to make sure witnesses and victims are supported once a complaint is made.