Yes Means Yes: Affirmative Consent Is Now Law for New York Colleges
Major progress geared toward combatting campus sexual assault was made when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that requires all New York universities and colleges to adopt the same sexual consent policy. "Affirmative consent" was once a requirement of only New York state colleges, but the new bill expands it to include private schools as well.
"Affirmative consent" means "yes means yes" — the only acceptable way of pursuing a sexual encounter with another individual (or individuals, if you're great at multitasking). Old consent laws generally covered "no means no," which allowed for too much gray area between partners.
The new legislation also includes a Bill of Rights for victims of sexual assault, a standard reporting system and methodology across all universities for reporting sexual assault, and (critically) a shield provision that prohibits anyone reporting a sexual assault from disciplinary action if alcohol or drugs were used during/before the encounter.
New York is the second state to pursue an enthusiastic consent law; late last year, California became the first state to sign a law into action last fall under Governor Jerry Brown.
Here's hoping more states will follow suit before school starts up this fall!
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