Letter to the Editor
Dear Free Press,
In the previous two weeks the Free Press has published three articles on the proposed revisions to the school’s sexual assault policy. In each of the articles the authors state that the key to the proposed new policy is the new definition of consent. We’re told who the parties involved are and what is happening procedurally, but nothing about the actual policy change being proposed. The most important piece of information is missing. Perhaps you could print the proposed policy along side any future articles on the subject.
Jonathon Hoye (Ph.D. Politics)
The Definition of Consent from the Proposed Revision:
* Consent is informed, knowing and voluntary.
* Consent is active, not passive: lack of resistance, physical or verbal, does not imply consent, nor does silence, in and of itself, imply consent.
* Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable permission regarding the conditions of sexual activity.
* Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. It must be given for every act and for every time that the act occurs, regardless of history, past behaviors, or reputation. Previous relationships or consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.
* Consent cannot be procured by use of physical force, compelling threats, intimidating behavior, or coercion. Coercion happens when one someone unreasonably pressures someone else for sex. Continued pressure beyond one’s affirmative consent is coercive. Coercing someone into sexual activity violates this policy just as much as physically forcing someone into sex.
* In order to give effective consent in New York state, one must be of legal age (17).
* Sexual activity with someone mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or blackout), is a violation of this policy. Incapacitation is a state where a person cannot give informed consent because s/he cannot make a rational, reasonable decision. S/he lacks the ability to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing.
* Someone whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of a “date-rape” drug cannot give consent.
* Administering alcohol or other drugs for the purpose of inducing incapacity is a violation of this policy.
* Use of alcohol or other drugs will never excuse behavior that violates this policy.
* Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other sexual activity. Consent may be revoked at any time for any reason.
* Under this policy, “no” always means “no,” and “yes” may not always mean “yes.”