NH legislator files 'yes means yes' sexual assault bill

A similar law recently passed in California.

If the law passes in N.H., public colleges and universities would have to follow policies or lose state funding. Private institutions would risk losing their property tax exemptions.

A New Hampshire lawmaker has filed a “yes means yes” sexual assault bill that would require colleges to adopt affirmative consent policies or risk losing state money.

State representative Robert (Renny) Cushing (D-Hampton) has filed a draft of the bill which is modeled after recently passed legislation in California. If passed, all of New Hampshire public colleges and universities would have to adopt the proposed policies or lose state aid. Private institutions would be at risk of losing their property tax exemptions if they did not comply.

“We need to have a hard conversation in the community about sex and power,” Cushing told Campus Reform in an interview.

Cushing, who is the vice chairman on the criminal justice and public safety committee, said he has “heard a lot about sexual assault” in his position and colleges need to be more “proactive” in creating a “culture that’s respectful of women.”

“It’s really important that men step up on the issue of sexual assault and say it’s not a part of the culture they want to embrace,” Cushing said.

Dartmouth College, located in the town of Hanover, is currently under at Title IX investigation by the federal government for mishandling sexual assault cases.

“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 said, according to the Associated Press. “What we want to do with this policy is to put a focus on prevention.”

California was the first state in the nation to require college students to actively consent for all sexual activity. California’s law also requires colleges to provide on-campus victims’ advocates and consent training during freshmen orientation.

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