Conn. Lawmakers Considering Affirmative Consent Bill

Mar 3, 2016

For years, people have talked about a “no means no” approach to sexual consent. But victims’ advocates say that puts a burden of proof on sexual assault victims, instead of on the perpetrators.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee heard testimony Tuesday over a bill that would take a different approach.

The bill would make universities follow a “yes means yes” policy. That means accused perpetrators of sexual assault would be expected to prove they received consent, if they were in disciplinary hearings on campus.

The University of Connecticut and Yale University already have "yes means yes" policies. Yale student Olivia Paschal says that makes it easier for victims to come forward.

"The prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses is a problem that must be addressed and although this legislation won’t do that entirely, it’s a good start," she says. "We can make college campuses in this state safer, and it’s important that we do that now."  

The bill wouldn’t change the criminal definition of sexual assault. It would change the standard colleges use to decide how to discipline students accused of assault.