On Sept. 28, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a statewide “yes means yes” law for institutions that receive state money. The law stipulates that the person accused of sexual assault must prove that a clear affirmation of consent was given by the accuser.
Christi Hurt, UNC’s assistant vice chancellor and chief of staff of student affairs, said she supports many aspects of the California law. She said UNC’s campus-specific policy and its definition of consent align with provisions in the California law underscoring the importance of affirmative consent instead of a definitive “no.”
"YES MEANS YES" LAW
California has enacted a new state standard for colleges and universities on consent:
- Institutions receiving state money must comply with 13 situations that might arise in sexual assault cases.
- The person accused of sexual assault must prove a clear affirmation of consent was given by the accuser.
- The accused can’t claim consent was given if the person reasonably should have known the other party was incapacitated by alcohol or drugs or was asleep.
- A lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence.
“I think any move to encourage the concept around affirmative consent and striving towards healthy sexuality is exactly the direction we need to be moving toward for the country,” she said.
North Carolina could benefit from a statewide law or policy regarding affirmative consent, she said, but there could also be problems with such a legal standard.