Renewed Responsibility in Sexual Encounters

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

“Affirmative consent,” a policy adopted by Minnesota State College and Universities in February, helps spot the difference between a green light and a yellow light in a sexual encounter.

The Minnesota State Board of Trustees policy change was urged by college students and faculty in an attempt to halt sexual violence on campus.

Laura Schultz, Assistant Director of Violence Awareness & Response Program at Minnesota State, Mankato, explains that the new policy “places the responsibility of making sure that consent is present on the person instigating sex. So instead of someone having to say a verbal “No” for an incident to be considered sexual assault, this policy encourages folks to think about the way that a verbal, enthusiastic, ongoing “Yes” should be present for both parties to feel sure that this is fully consensual.”

Not only are college students required to engage in “Affirmitive Consent” before sex, but faculty and the Board of Trustees are holding themselves to the same standard in an attempt to show the importance of consent.

“This policy is meant to encourage everyone to fully understand how important it is to ensure consent,” Schultz said. “Hopefully policies like this one will make folks think more specifically about what actions they are taking to be sure that each partner is fully agreeing to each step of the way. Hopefully it will increase communication and make clear what’s expected of all who are engaging in any specific sex act.”

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reported one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. This new consensual footing helps define the sometimes blurry lines in an intimate setting.

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