LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A potential new law could change the way college students engage in sexual activity on campus.
SB 967 would establish affirmative consent on all state-run college campuses in California. It’s defined as “an affirmative unambiguous and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity…Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent. Nor does silence mean consent.”
Students who want to have sex would have to reach a mutual agreement, either verbally or on paper, first. The bill says affirmative consent cannot be given by anyone who’s incapacitated by alcohol, drugs or a mental or physical condition. Once given, consent can be revoked at any time.
“One out of five young women on a college campus will be sexually assaulted,” according to state Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), who co-authored the bill as a way to prevent sexual assault.
“I think this is really critical that we create a culture that’s respectful of women, that we create protocols that are transparent,” de León said.
“The federal government is currently investigating 55 colleges and universities. Obviously, there is a problem,” Leon said. “SB 967 will change the equation so the system is not stacked against survivors by establishing an affirmative consent policy to make it clear that only ‘yes’ means ‘yes.'”
CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Randy Paige spoke with students at Cal State University Los Angeles, who said they supported the bill.
“I think it’s a really good idea, because it sets the guidelines for what is consent and what is not consent,” CSULA student Melody Klingenfuss said.
The bill does have its critics.
“I think it’s a bad idea,” said former sex crimes prosecutor and CBS2/KCAL9 legal consultant Steve Meister, who feels the issue of consent and sexual assault allegations should be left to law enforcement.
“You don’t take a report of a major felony to a university student affairs officer who’s used to dealing with problems arising from keg parties, you go to the cops,” Meister said.
It passed the state Senate last month and is currently under review in the Assembly.