You're in the heat of the moment, rounding third, but then you must stop and ask, Can I have your verbal or written consent to have sex with you?

Sounds quite unspontaneous. But a law co-authored by L.A. state Sen. Kevin de Leon would have state-run college campuses establish an “affirmative consent” standard for its students.

According to the language of the bill, SB 967, students who want to have sex must essentially establish that there has been “an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.” In fact, the legislation says, … 

… It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in initiating the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the consent of the other person to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent.

No more making sexy faces and sounds for you. You've got to verbalize. Or get it on paper.

A rep for De Leon said that the University of California system, as well as other noted institutions around the nation, have already adopted a similar policy. And she emphasized that this was just one aspect of a law aimed at changing the culture of California campuses when it comes to sexual assault and harassment.

The legislation, which was recently approved by the Senate, would also require state colleges and universities to establish standards for student or campus sex that already exist under California law:

People accused of assault, for example, couldn't use being drunk as an excuse. And it would be assault to have sex with someone who's asleep, unconscious or otherwise unable to give consent.

De Leon's rep explained that while this is also part of current law, campuses have their own systems of student discipline, and without expressly laying down the rules for colleges as well, some suspects could fall through the cracks. And some victims could shy away.

Credit: Jean Koulev/Flickr

Credit: Jean Koulev/Flickr

With this law,  it would all be there in black and white for each and every state campus. They would have to abide.

The bill appears to be a response to last month's release of a U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights roster of 55 schools that face inquiries over their handling of the sex-assault reports.

De Leon says:

The federal government is currently investigating 55 colleges and universities. Obviously, there is a problem. SB 967 will change the equation so the system is not stacked against survivors by establishing an affirmative consent policy to make it clear that only 'yes' means 'yes.'

Bill co-author Hannah-Beth Jackson, a state Senator from Santa Barbara, adds:

 … Events in Isla Vista confirm that misogyny exists on and around our campuses, and we need to confront it. This bill makes a strong statement that California is moving from a culture of acceptance to a 'no excuses' culture. No excuses for rape. No excuses for blaming the victims of rape. No excusing for not supporting these victims. And no excuses for colleges and universities turning a blind eye to the problem of campus sexual assault and violence.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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