Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday he signed the “yes means yes” bill. Senate Bill 967, authored by State Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), requires affirmative consent when in sexual situations on college campuses. California in the first in the nation to adopt the “yes means yes” requirement for colleges to follow when investigating sexual assault reports.
The California Senate unanimously passed the bill in August. The bill states that in order to receive state funds for student financial assistance, such as the Cal Grant, colleges and universities in the state of California must adopt the policy related to sexual assault investigations. According to the bill, there must be “an affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by both parties to sexual activity.” Each party must consent to sexual activity and lack of protest or silence does not mean consent. The bill also says that it is not consent if the person is intoxicated, drugged, unconscious or sleeping.
Colleges must have a comprehensive training program for campus officials involved in investigations of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking cases. In addition to new standards for investigating sexual assaults, the bill has other requirements. The bill requires colleges to implement comprehensive prevention and outreach programs addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stacking. Prevention programs will include prevention strategies such as awareness campaigns educating the campus communities about victim prevention, bystander intervention, and risk reduction strategies. Outreach programs will be made available to the entire student body and will be part of every incoming student’s orientation.
The National Institute of Justice has found that 19 percent of women in college have reported “experiencing completed or attempted sexual assault since entering college.” De Leon explained the bill would create uniformity in the way college campuses investigate and provide services to victims of sexual assault. The bill was passed while colleges and universities across the country are reviewing the way they prevent and investigate sexual assaults on their campuses. The federal government is current investigating 76 colleges and universities for possible violations of Title IX, including five institutions in California.
Much work is going into the way colleges handle sexual assaults. California State University will be hiring sexual assault victim advocates for all 23 campuses of the CSU system. University of California President Janet Napolitano also recently announced each UC campus would establish an advocate to support sexual assault victims on every campus. Lastly, President Barack Obama introduced the “It’s On Us” campaign to education everyone should be involved in preventing sexual assaults on college campuses.