The Michigan Daily
9.17.15 | Emma Kinery
Michigan Democrats are trying to change the way consent is discussed in the state — starting with how the concept is taught in schools.
Though a bill jointly introduced Wednesday by state Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D–Meridian Twp.) and state Rep. Tom Cochran (D–Mason) will not change the definition of consent in the state of Michigan as a whole, it will require Michigan public K-12 schools to focus on a conscious, affirmative “yes” as consent to having sex.
The bill doesn’t impact University policies, but Hertel and Cochran said they hoped the bill would address the issue of sexual assault in college by educating Michigan students before they arrive on campus.
Several universities in the state of Michigan have been or are currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for their handling of sexual assault cases, including the University and Michigan State University.
“There's an epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses,” Hertel said. “One in five women will be a victim of sexual assault while in those college years. I think we need to do something to change the paradigm of what kids are learning before they get to college so we can actually give them the tools that will help alleviate this.”
Affirmative consent aims to go against the common “no means no” definition, which says an individual must clearly say no for a situation to be non-consensual.