‘Yes’ bill is OK’d

Consent required

“Affirmative Consent” became the new standard for sexual encounters on California college and university campuses after Senate Bill No. 967 was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown Sunday, Sept. 29.
California is the first state to pass a law of this kind, which mandates that all colleges and universities that receive state funding or state-funded student financial aid adopt a standard of “affirmative consent.”
Before a sexual encounter takes place those involved must receive a confirmed “yes” from their prospective partner. According to the bill, no longer can a “lack of protest or resistance be construed as consent.”
Sexual assault victims will not be required to prove they said “no,” explained Los Medanos College President Bob Kratochvil.
“The biggest change is that a person accused of sexual assault will now be faced with proving that the accuser actually consented to have sexual activity,” he said.
SB 967 defines consent as an “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement in sexual activity.” If an individual is unconscious or asleep, they are unable to give consent to sexual acts. In addition those under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medications that render them incapable of making mindful decisions cannot be presumed to have given consent. The same holds true for those with a mental or physical condition that prevents them from saying “no.”
“Affirmative consent” must also be ongoing. Even though both partners may have originally agreed to a sexual encounter, permission may be rescinded at any point by either partner. This eliminates assumed consent due to a history of sexual activity or a current dating relationship.
California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, who represents the 7th district, said he is proud to support SB 967 and make “California a national leader in preventing sexual assault and violence on college campuses.”
He said that educating students about the new affirmative consent standard — yes means yes rather than no means no — is crucial and by “requiring colleges and universities to implement comprehensive and collaborative prevention programs we can create a safer environment for students.”
Because of SB 967 all state colleges, universities and community colleges must adopt an “affirmative consent” standard and are required to implement policies “concerning sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking” for students on and off campus.
“As a college, and district as a whole, we are already very proactive when it comes to investigating criminal activity of any nature, as well as serious violations to the Student Code of Conduct,” said Senior Dean of Student Services Gail Newman, who explained LMC administrators work with District Police Services on related issues and there are district policies and procedures to support whatever outcomes may be necessary.
Lieut. Ryan Huddleston of LMC Police Services said when implementing policies they always work with Student Services “at all colleges, district wide.”
This law could have flaws said EMS student Amanita Cornejo.
“How do you know if someone’s level of consciousness is not there?” she asked rhetorically, adding the new standard could present problems because you might not be able to tell if someone is too intoxicated. She also wondered how would you be able to prove intoxication after the fact.
But LMC student Hayden Birtle thinks SB 967 could help bring clarity when an unlawful act does happen.
“It’s able to deal with the gray area that has been in that spectrum of the law for awhile,” he said.
For students who are confused about whether consent for sexual activity has been granted, there is a new app for that. Good2Go was released the week of Sept. 23, shortly before Brown signed SB 967 into law. Students over the age of 18 can sign up by using their own mobile phone number and creating a password.
To obtain “affirmative consent” launch the Good2Go app and hand your phone to your prospective partner, who will be able to login as an existing user or sign up as a new user. Then there are three options for your partner to choose from:
1) No, thanks
2) Yes, but… we need to talk
3) I’m Good2Go.
If your partner is Good2go they will also need to indicate sobriety level: sober, mildly intoxicated, intoxicated but Good2Go, or pretty wasted. Consent is granted for every level of sobriety except pretty wasted.
According to information on its website, Sandton Technologies hopes the Good2Go app will “reduce the number of assaults and ‘regretted encounters’ by improving communications before the start of sexual activity” and said potential partners, by saying yes or no to sexual activity and declaring their intoxication level, are giving consent and avoiding misunderstandings.