University sexual assault policy incorporates ‘Yes Means Yes’ law

Oct. 13, 2014, 8:54 a.m.

On Sept. 30, the University’s written sexual assault policy, as outlined in the Annual Safety, Security & Fire Report, began to include new language aimed at establishing a clear parallel between University policy and California’s SB 967.

Nicknamed “Yes Means Yes,” SB 967 requires California universities receiving state funding for student financial aid to make affirmative consent a central element of their sexual assault policies.

Several new clauses clarifying the meaning of “affirmative consent” were also added to the 2014 campus security report.

“Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent,” the policy reads, adding that explicit expression of consent may be revoked at any time during sexual activity.

Affirmative consent has served as a cornerstone of Stanford assault policy since 2012, said Lauren Schoenthaler, Senior University Counsel at the Office of the General Counsel.

Schoenthaler explained that many of the measures detailed in SB 967, such as using the preponderance of evidence standard for determining sexual misconduct, already constitute University policy. But she also said that SB 967 is likely to fuel the ongoing university discussion about official repercussions for sexual misconduct.

“Is there a direct message between SB 967 and punishment? No, there’s not a direct connection,” Schoenthaler said. “[But] I imagine that, given more attention to this issue on a statewide level, there might be more focused discussion about whether penalties and consequences should change.”

SB 967, signed into law on Sept. 28, is the first measure of its kind in the nation.


Contact Madeleine Han at mhan95 ‘at’

Seunghwa Madeleine Han '17 is a sophomore at Stanford interested in English, international relations and the intersection of technology and human communication. She is currently a contributing writer for music and a former news desk editor at The Daily. Contact her at mhan95 'at' to find out more.

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