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Plan To Impose Sexual Consent Standard At California Universities Up For Vote In Sacramento

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Students walk through Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Students walk through Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) – The California State Assembly is expected to vote on legislation this month that would require colleges that receive state funds for student assistance to adopt an “affirmative consent standard” as part of their sexual assault policies in determining allegations from a complainant.

Legislation passed by California’s state Senate in May and coming before the Assembly this month would require schools to set a uniform standard for consent that could be used in investigating sexual assault allegations.

The bill, known as SB-967, says:

“Affirmative consent means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmativeconsent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not meanconsent, nor does silence mean consent.”

It also states that “affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.”

The accused also could not use being under the influence of drugs or alcohol or recklessness as an argument for believing the complainant, according to the legislation.

It also is not consent if the complainant was asleep or unconscious, was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition, or incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, so the complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity.

Several state legislatures, including Texas, have introduced bills to push colleges to do more after a White House task force reported that one in five female college students is a victim of sexual assault. But no state legislation has gone as far as California’s bill in requiring a consent standard.

Critics say the state is overstepping its bounds, and some fear navigating the murky waters of consent spells trouble for universities.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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