by Stacey Kaslon

Approximately, 100 BSU students and student leaders gathered last night in Hagg-Sauer 100 for the Affirmative Consent Panel sponsored by BSU Student Senate and Support Within Reach Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Moderated by Student Senate President Aash Ullah, the panel featured Support within Reach Prevention/Volunteer Coordinator Emily Schlecht, Director of Housing and Residential Life Randy Ludeman, Health Education Coordinator Jay Passa, Student Center for Health and Counseling Nurse Practitioner Jennifer Fraik, as well as Title IX Coordinator and Assistant to the President for Affirmative Action Deb Peterson.

“We believe this is a very important issue which needs to be addressed,” Ullah said. “Students should be educated and what better way to educate our student body than educating their student leaders first.”

The panel unveiled the “Yes Means Yes” policy. One of seven Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) to unanimously vote the strategy, Students United (the organization that represents all MNSCU students), Student Senate, as well as administration decided to implement the change into the student handbook.

The Minnesota State policy 1B.3 defines affirmative consent as “informed, freely given, and mutually understood willingness to participate in sexual activity that is expressed by clear, unambiguous, and affirmative words or actions.”

This new policy will take the place of the previous “No Means No” policy. BSU hopes to change the tone while students go through the reporting process for sexual violence. Instead of requiring a direct “No,” the new policy asks for a clear “yes” taking into account survivors who may have resisted either physically or emotionally by force or by an absence of resistance, those who gave prior consent within a relationship, those who gave previous consent but chose to revoke it as events progressed, as well as those who were unable to give consent either from being intoxicated or unconscious at anytime within the encounter.

The panel chose to play the video “Tea Consent” created by www.consentiseverything.com to illustrate what consent is defined as within the new school policy.

The goal of the policy is to hold students accountable within the campus conduct system to communicate clear and ongoing consent for all parties engaging in sexual activity.

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