College Students Required To Offer Written Sexual ConsentCollege code requires students to sign and submit waivers before engaging in any sexual contact, or else risk being disciplined for sexual misconduct.
It was your typical college romance. John and Jane met at the beginning of their freshmen year at Justinuther University, and over the next few weeks, began to know each other a little better.
By the following semester, after attending a campus party, the two decided to take their relationship to the next level.
Jane invited John over to her dorm room, where she made the first move and asked him if he wanted to sleep with her. John complied, and the two had sex.
Despite both of them drinking at the party earlier that evening, both were sober enough to offer each other their consent and use protection.
The next morning, neither of them were ashamed of what they had done, and both were willing to do it again in the near future.
This is where their story should have ended. Sadly, for them, it did not, and their ending was anything but happy.
Two days later, they were both summoned to the Dean of Students Office, which had caught wind of their sexual act. Both of them were accused of violating the college’s new code of sexual conduct.
Under the new code, students wishing to engage in sexual contact are required to offer their written consent. Neither John no Jane had complied with this measure, and thus, they were charged by college officials with sexual misconduct—specifically, Jack was charged with rape.
Despite their insistence that their sex was consensual and mutual, and despite police investigating their case and concluding that they were innocent of any sexual misconduct, and thus refused to charge them with any crime, the two were brought before the college judiciary, who convicted John of rape and had him promptly expelled.
John has since hired a lawyer and filed a lawsuit against the college. His lawsuit remains pending.
“This is beyond ridiculous,” Jane said in a phone interview. “How could I have been raped if I wanted to have sex? I consented. John consented. We both consented. Neither of us had any regrets, and we both loved it. End of story. John did not rape me.”
The college’s code of sexual conduct was revised prior to the start of the fall semester last year, and was passed at the behest of student feminist groups urging for stricter rules and regulations against sexual assault.
Under the school’s new code, simply asking another student if they want to have sex and receiving a “yes” answer is insufficient for consent. Both students must report to the student office and sign and submit a waiver expressing their sexual consent though writing.
Their waiver requires filling out a form detailing all of the physical and sexual contact they wish to engage in, from kissing and fondling, to whether their sex includes oral or anal, to what sexual position they wish to assume.
After completing their form and providing their signatures, both students must wait a minimum of two to three days until their waiver is approved to engage in their desired coitus.
Despite these otherwise “draconian” measures (as many students have described it), most students have chosen to bypass this new process and do what Mother Nature programmed them to do. Most students have been able to get away with this, but others such as John and John have not.
Even when students have complied with the new process, a simple typographical error could have them running the risk of being disciplined for sexual misconduct.
One couple, who wishes to remain anonymous, had submitted their waiver and received approval, but were still disciplined when it was learned that the female student gave the male student a blowjob, despite them having specified in their form that they were only engaging in regular sex.
Another couple ran into a similar predicament when they decided halfway through their sexual act to try “doggy style” when they had originally specified that they were only going to engage in the missionary position.
The college has refused to divulge the number of students it has disciplined for sexual misconduct, nor how it was able to learn that said students had been engaging in it.
The college’s new code rides on the current wind of nationwide debate concerning college sexual assault, the flames of which were further fanned earlier this spring by an investigation by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Education
of 55 colleges that were suspected of not reporting sexual assault cases.
That investigation, along with national stories of rape cases such as Steubenville, have prompted activists, mostly feminists, to demand stricter laws and regulations, especially on college campuses, to curtail sexual assault.
To support their demands, feminists have often cited the common statistic that one in five female college students are raped—a figure based upon a study which has since been debunked by criminologists James Alan Fox and Richard Moran
“The estimated 19% sexual assault rate among college women is based on a survey at two large four-year universities, which might not accurately reflect our nation’s colleges overall. In addition, the survey had a large non-response rate, with the clear possibility that those who had been victimized were more apt to have completed the questionnaire, resulting in an inflated prevalence figure.”
Their findings, along with other statistics that reveal sexual assault rates at record lows
, refute feminist claims that America is currently suffering from a “rape epidemic."
However, this has not stopped elected officials from proposing and passing stricter laws concerning sexual assault.
Recently, California approved SB 967
, or the “Yes Means Yes” bill, which requires colleges to adopt stricter guidelines concerning sexual conduct based upon “affirmative consent,” which the bill defines as "an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.”
The bill further stipulates that consent may be revoked if "the accused's belief in consent arose from the self-induced intoxication or recklessness of the accused" or if "the accused did not take reasonable steps, in the circumstances known to the accused at the time, to ascertain that the complainant was consenting."
While the bill has been praised by feminist activists, it has come under scrutiny by critics over its “ambiguous” definition of consent, which could potentially lead to false rape accusations.
Furthermore, the processes by which colleges would be required to adopt to investigate rape allegations could lead to the accused having their legal rights violated, as Reason Magazine
’s Robby Soave
“The big [problem] is that many colleges don’t extend due process rights to students involved in the process. The accused are frequently denied legal counsel, the right to call their own witnesses or cross-examine the evidence against them, and they are convicted on the "preponderance of the evidence" standard, which only requires administrators to be 50.00001 percent sure of themselves. This is the standard the federal government insists upon and California's bill requires. Students found guilty under that standard are often suspended for years or expelled outright, meaning that whatever money they spent on tuition is wasted. And since other colleges are loathe to admit anyone with a campus sexual assault violation on his record, conviction in a campus court can end a person's college career forever.”
One recent incident that highlights this potential problem occurred last year at Occidental College
when a male student was expelled after being accused of rape.
Despite his case revealing that his accuser had previously expressed her willingness to have sex with him, both to him and to another friend, and despite the police finding no evidence of any wrongdoing from either party, the male student was still expelled, as the school considered his accuser’s consent “invalid” due to her being intoxicated.
Despite such potential problems concerning the “Yes Means Yes” bill and other anti-rape measures, feminist supporters have remained unfazed by them.Vox
's editor-in-chief Ezra Klein
admitted that the bill “is a terrible law” that would do more harm than good, but that the inevitable harm was necessary to combat sexual assault on college campuses:
“If the Yes Means Yes law is taken even remotely seriously it will settle like a cold winter on college campuses, throwing everyday sexual practice into doubt and creating a haze of fear and confusion over what counts as consent. This is the case against it, and also the case for it. Because for one in five women to report an attempted or completed sexual assault means that everyday sexual practices on college campuses need to be upended, and men need to feel a cold spike of fear when they begin a sexual encounter...To work, "Yes Means Yes" needs to create a world where men are afraid.”