US colleges adopting “yes means yes” policies on sexual consent

September 11, 2014

US colleges are redefining consent as part of their effort to curb sexual violence on campus. In August, California passed an “affirmative consent standard,” requiring both parties in a sexual interaction to provide clear, unambiguous consent. The bill had the support of the University of California system, which now plans to implement the standard at all 23 campuses in its system. Similar policies are now in place at more than 800 colleges across the country. “I think they’re doing it as a gauntlet for students who might not consider themselves perpetrators but who might be perpetrators,” said Colby Bruno, an attorney with the Victim Rights Law Center. Lisa Maatz, VP Government Relations at the American Association of University Women, added that such policies can help clarify what behaviour is acceptable and what is not, and can “ensure that those involved in disciplinary proceedings no longer ask survivors stereotypical and problematic questions like ‘Did you fight back?’ or ‘Have you had a relationship with the accused?’ or ‘What were you wearing?’” In February, Students Nova Scotia launched its "More than Yes" campaign, organized on a similar premise. Huffington Post