U. of Minn. institutes new affirmative consent policy

The University of Minnesota (UMN) Board of Regents has granted permission to the university’s student association to implement a new, controversial affirmative consent policy on the campus.

In a Twitter post, Joelle Stangler, UMN’s student body president, posted a letter sent to her and student leaders from university president Eric Kaler.

The affirmative consent policy was originally meant to be implemented back in July, but the Board of Regents tabled it.

In response, Stangler and student leaders created a petition that garnered over 1,600 signatures. The petition was meant to protest the Regents decision to table the policy.

After the July meeting of the UMN Board of Regents, Regent Michael Hsu asked university lawyers to review the possible legal implications of an affirmative consent policy, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The Regents did not release the review’s findings to the public, claiming attorney-client privilege.

Many expected the policy to get another look during the Regents’ September meeting.

“Waiting until September means we miss a prime window of opportunity to educate all of our new students” Stangler says in the petition. “This means three more months without the stronger protection for victim-survivors during the first months of school, months where the likelihood of being a victim of sexual assault is drastically higher than other times during the year.

The new consent policy states that students must offer, “informed, freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity that is expressed by clear and unambiguous words or actions.”

“It’s more clear to people that are involved in the sexual activity to understand whether or not they have consent,” Hsu told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The University of Minnesota did not return a request for comment in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @mikemcgrady2