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Calif. Bill Seeks 'Affirmative Consent' Standard for Campus Sexual Assault Cases

Calif. Bill Seeks 'Affirmative Consent' Standard for Campus Sexual Assault Cases

February 12, 2014 — A new California bill (SB 967) would require the state's colleges and universities to adopt "victim-centered" prevention and response initiatives for sexual assaults on campus, the Sacramento Bee reports.

The bill was prompted in part by complaints against Occidental College in Los Angeles for mishandling campus sexual assault allegations, said state Sen. Kevin de León (D), who introduced the measure with state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D) and state Assembly member Bonnie Lowenthal (D).

Bill Details

The measure would make "affirmative consent" the standard for determining whether consent occurred in alleged sexual assaults on campuses. Under such a standard, sexual partners are responsible for ensuring the other person explicitly consents, in contrast to the more common "'no' means 'no'" standard in most sexual assault cases, which relies on a person expressing lack of consent.

The legislation also would establish policies aimed at improving protections and services for sexual assault survivors, as well as on-campus education and intervention efforts.

De León said his bill would "change the equation so the system is not stacked against the survivors," adding, "There's nothing that's vague, there's nothing that's ambiguous to this equation right here" (Koseff, Sacramento Bee, 2/11).