Contact: Gina Lauterio

Email: info@saveservices.org

Univ. of Minnesota Administrators Advance Controversial Sex Policy Without Full Review By Regents And Students

WASHINGTON / August 28, 2015 – Despite opposition from the campus community, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler announced he will be implementing an affirmative consent sexual assault policy this upcoming school year.  SAVE urges the Board of Regents to suspend the controversial policy at its upcoming September 9-10 meeting.

The policy will be implemented before students return to campus, meaning that students were not able to effectively express their concerns about the policy: http://www.startribune.com/debate-grows-over-proposed-sexual-consent-policy-at-the-u/322561191/

The new policy will require “affirmative consent” between any students engaging in sexual activity.  Under the policy, affirmative consent is defined as “informed, freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity that is expressed by clear and unambiguous words or actions.”  The policy requires that consent be continuous throughout the sexual activity:

https://policy.umn.edu/operations/sexualassault-appa

If students are accused of failing to obtain affirmative consent at each step of a sexual activity, they are subject to disciplinary action, including expulsion from the university.

An “affirmative consent” policy will remove the presumption of innocence from accused students and trivialize the problem of violent rape, SAVE believes: http://www.saveservices.org/sexual-assault/affirmative-consent/

As explained by civil rights lawyer, Robert Shibley, “when these guidelines become binding rules that are adjudicated by campus courts, they effectively render students guilty until proven innocent.” Shibley warned, “Those accused, meanwhile, dare not forget a single detail of how that continuous consent was communicated each and every time they have sex.”: http://www.startribune.com/u-s-yes-means-yes-policy-is-obviously-flawed/321829881/

“The new policy was enacted without the understanding or consent of the students,” notes SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “It is dangerous to implement such a radical change without ever explaining how students are expected to be able to cope with it.”

SAVE recommends that the University Board of Regents table or suspend the policy at their September board meeting, while starting a serious review of the proposal and its consequences.

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is working to promote effective solutions to campus sexual assault: http://www.saveservices.org/