By Patrick McGreevy and Melanie Mason
August 28, 2014

To address the problem of rape on campuses, California colleges and universities would have to adopt a standard of unambiguous consent among students engaging in sexual activity under a proposal passed by state lawmakers Thursday.

If signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, such policies would be required at all public colleges and other institutions that receive state funds for student aid. They would have to include a detailed protocol for assisting victims of sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence and date violence.

“These are our daughters, they are our sisters, they are our nieces,” said Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). “It is incumbent on men, in particular, to step up and to stand up and to do everything possible to change that culture — a culture that’s quite pervasive on our college campus. That is a rape culture.”

Along with a comprehensive prevention program, colleges would be required to help victims of sexual assault seek medical care, counseling, legal assistance and other services.

Students engaging in sexual activity would first need “affirmative consent” from both parties — a clear threshold that specifically could not include a person’s silence, a lack of resistance or consent given while intoxicated.

The bill, SB 967, was written by De León and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).

“California continues to be the leader in the nation on these issues,” Jackson said Thursday.

In March, the UC system announced a revised policy that requires administrators to provide support and protection for victims of sexual assault and more detailed reporting of violence and harassment.

Nearly 50 colleges and universities nationwide, including UCLA, USC and Occidental College, are under federal investigation for their handling of sexual assault allegations.

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