A bill that would require prior, written or verbal consent before having sex on college campuses is currently working its way through the California state legislature. If passed, any two parties wishing to get down with one another would have to at least talk it out first.
The text of SB 967 bill defines consent as "an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent is informed, freely given, and voluntary." It also puts the onus on the person initiating sexual activity to ensure they actually have consent from the other party.
"Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent," the bill reads, "nor does silence mean consent." Furthermore, consent can be revoked at any time and a person's prior romantic relationship or sexual history is never considered consent. In other words: previous hookups are not consent, nor is your Facebook relationship status.
In addition to requiring consent between co-eds, the bill would also force University of California and California State schools to adopt a new set of victim-focused policies for handling sexual assault cases. As the bill's author, state Senator Kevin de León told CBS5, "I think this is really critical that we create a culture that’s respectful of women, that we create protocols that are transparent. 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.’”
On the other hand, not everyone believes the bill is a good idea. As former sex crimes prosecutor Steve Meister told a CBS station in LA, the bill would mean felonies on college campuses would be reported to university administrators rather than law enforcement.
The U.S. Department of Education, meanwhile, is currently investigating 55 colleges and universities across the country for how they handle sexual assault cases. At the same time, thirty-one sexual assault victims have filed suit against UC Berkeley, with onte saying that saying that "Neither the department of education nor UC Berkeley have made an effort to address (the) culture of sexual violence on campus."
SB 967 passed the California State Senate last month and is currently before the State Assembly.