The days of "no means no" are giving way to "only yes means yes."
People perked their ears in August when California passed the first state-mandated collegiate consent policy. All California colleges receiving state funds would need to adopt an "affirmative consent" standard in their sexual violence prevention education for students and in adjudication of campus rape cases. In short, affirmative consent means "only yes means yes," rather than "no means no," and it requires both parties to get unambiguous, clear, affirmative consent in sexual interactions.
The University of California system backed the bill; several months earlier, its 10 institutions already implemented affirmative consent policies. The California State University system supported the legislation as well and plans to have affirmative consent in place on all of its 23 campuses.
But in the week the legislation sailed through the California Legislature, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill adopted the same policy without much of a whisper at the national level. It's in place at Gettysburg College, St. Louis University and the University of Iowa. And Antioch College has had it for 20 years.
In fact, at least 800 colleges have some form of an affirmative consent policy in place, according to the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management. The only Ivy league school without it is Harvard University, despite pressure by student activists. It's practically endorsed by the U.S. Department of Justice, too.