Oct 13, 2014 05:27 PM EDT
'Yes Means Yes' Sexual Consent Policy Coming to New Hampshire? Lawmaker Files Bill Draft
A lawmaker in New Hampshire is trying to bring the "Yes Means Yes" sexual consent policy already passed in California to the state's colleges and universities.
According to the Associated Press, Rep. Renny Cushing (D-Hampton) is urging the state's institutions to adopt the policy or else lose state funding. Cushing filed a draft of the bill, which could also penalize private institutions by taking away property tax exemptions.
Cushing filed a draft of the bill last week after much speculation that the state would try to adopt the policy after it was introduced by the state of Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the first "Yes Means Yes" bill into law in late Sept.
"I don't think anybody was really happy when a New Hampshire college makes national headlines for concerns over sexual assault on campus, and I think there's a growing awareness taking place throughout society that sexual assault is a problem," Cushing told the AP. "What we want to do with this policy is to put a focus on prevention."
At the center of the bill is the idea that two people must both give affirmative consent to engage in sexual activity. It does not accept the lack of a negative response as consent, nor does it allow for consent to be given if at least one person is intoxicated, inebriated, asleep or unconscious. Consent does not have to be a resounding "yes" either, it may be given by a head nod or by reciprocating an advance.
While Dartmouth College has been under federal investigation for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) has been lauded for already having an affirmative consent policy in place.
Earlier this year, President Obama asked UNH to help craft a universal policy to curb sexual assault on college campuses nationwide. UNH's Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program requires first-year students to comprehend the school's policies in an online course ending with the signing of a form.
UNH also punishes sexual assault with a minimum one-year suspension and may hold an assailant off campus until their victim graduates.
Students at Harvard University are currently petitioning for the school to adopt such a policy while several other lawmakers are considering it as well.
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