Affirmative Consent

PR: Affirmative Consent — NY Times Article Elicits Derision and Outrage

Contact: Gina Lauterio


Affirmative Consent — NY Times Article Elicits Derision and Outrage: ‘We have let the radicals hijack this issue’

WASHINGTON / October 16, 2015 – A recent New York Times article about affirmative consent, “Sex Ed Lesson: ‘Yes Means Yes,’ But It’s Tricky,” is triggering a strong negative public response. The article details the confused reactions of California high school students who are being instructed to ask permission for sexual activities every 10 minutes, or risk being adjudged guilty of rape. (1)

The highest-rated reader reaction to the NYT account deplored how “The yes-means-yes standard turns almost all of us into rapists. We have let the radicals hijack this issue with disastrous results for innocent young people.” (2)

Another reader commented ironically, “As far as I can tell, the new ‘affirmative consent’ paradigm allows for a very realistic possibility of two adults raping each other at the same time, which makes a mockery of the whole concept of rape.”

The NYT article has triggered numerous editorials, as well. Washington Examiner writer Ashe Schow charged, “If you don’t have sex the way the government tells you to, you’re a rapist.” (3) Columnist Blake Neff wrote, “some kids are getting the impression they need to set a timer during their intimate encounters to make sure their casual hookup doesn’t accidentally become a rape.” (4)

“Affirmative consent betrays the victims of sexual assault by removing the element of force,” charges SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “Lawmakers who are serious about stopping rape should be working to remove these cases from the campus sex tribunals and send them to local law enforcement.”

On August 4, judge Carol McCoy overturned a decision of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to expel a student on allegations of sexual assault. McCoy ruled the university “improperly shifted the burden of proof…Absent the tape recording of a verbal consent or other independent means to demonstrate that consent was given, the ability of an accused to prove the complaining party’s consent strains credulity and is illusory.” (5)

SAVE has compiled extensive information about the shortcomings of affirmative consent policies. (6)

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is working to promote effective solutions to campus sexual assault:

Campus Sexual Assault

PR: Dept. of Education Sexual Assault Program Falls into Disarray; SAVE Calls on Congress to Take Action

Contact: Gina Lauterio


Dept. of Education Sexual Assault Program Falls into Disarray; SAVE Calls on Congress to Take Action

WASHINGTON / October 7, 2015 – The Department of Education has long claimed that universities must comply with its campus sexual assault policies or risk loss of federal funding. But in testimony to the Senate Homeland Security Committee, two Department of Education officials recently admitted that its 2011 Dear Colleague Letter is non-binding guidance that does not hold force of law:

This admission portends the necessity of a major overhaul of Department of Education’s sexual assault policies and practices:

  1. The Education Department will need to rewrite existing guidance documents, such as its 2014 Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence, to conform to the altered legal status of the Dear Colleague Letter, often referred to as the “DCL.”
  1. The legal validity of settlement agreements with dozens of universities, which were based on the DCL “requirements,” is now called into question.
  1. The Department of Education must decide whether to suspend or terminate ongoing investigations at over 100 universities.

In addition, universities across the nation will need to consider revamping their sexual assault policies, especially in light of the growing number of lawsuits by expelled students alleging the university removed their constitutionally protected due process rights.

In direct violation of legal requirements, the Dear Colleague Letter was published without prior public review and comment. Given the long-standing pattern of improper and unlawful Department of Education actions in this area, SAVE is calling on Congress to assert its full oversight and legislative authorities.

“For over four years, a rogue Department of Education has strong-armed schools with the threat of removing their federal funding,” notes SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “These practices amount to nothing less than illegal bureaucratic extortion.”

The DCL has become a lightning-rod for legal controversy. Last October, 28 Harvard law school faculty members published an open letter expressing “strong objections” to a new Harvard sexual assault policy. Hundreds of editorials have criticized the Dept. of Education letter and resulting campus policies: