On July 9, 2015, PSG President Kyle R. Kroll issued a public letter to the University administration to provide the professional student body voice on the proposed changes to the University’s sexual assault policy. After consulting other professional student leaders and students, President Kroll combined the various opinions to form a collective opinion on the subject. The letter represents PSG’s current stance on the proposed language, which, in pertinent part, is as follows:
Sexual Assault. Actual, attempted or threatened sexual contact with another person without that person’s affirmative consent. Sexual assault often is a criminal act that can be prosecuted under Minnesota state law, as well as under the Student Conduct Code and employee discipline procedures.
Affirmative Consent. Informed, freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity that is expressed by clear and unambiguous words or actions. This definition of consent does not vary based upon a person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
A determination about the existence of consent is a critical element in the investigation of a sexual assault. The following factors will be considered when determining consent:
- It is the responsibility of each person who wishes to engage in the sexual activity to obtain consent.
- A lack of protest, the absence of resistance and silence do not indicate consent.
- The existence of a present or past dating or romantic relationship does not imply consent to future sexual activity.
- Consent must be present throughout the sexual activity and may be initially given, but withdrawn at any time.
- When consent is withdrawn all sexual activity must stop. Likewise, where there is confusion about the state of consent, sexual activity must stop until both parties consent again.
- Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
- Consent is not obtained where:
- There is physical force, threats, intimidation or coercion.
- There is incapacitation due to the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- There is the inability to communicate because of a physical or mental condition
- An individual is asleep, unconscious or involuntarily physically restrained.
- An individual is unable to understand the nature or extent of the sexual situation because of mental or physical incapacitation or impairment.
- One party is not of legal age to give consent pursuant to Minnesota state law.
PSG’s stance supports the change to require affirmative consent, but asks that the University provide more clarification about what it means for affirmative consent to be “expressed by clear and unambiguous words or actions.” The full letter can be read at this link.
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