State approves anti-stalking bill

‘Yes means yes’ law holds colleges responsible for sexual assault cases

By Rodney Woodson, Associate Editor

Community college students in California have been given another hand in the fight against sexual assault and domestic violence with Senate Bill 967’s approval by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The bill was approved on Sept. 28.
SB 967 aims to combat sexual assault and rape cases that occur at colleges in California by mandating that college students who receive federal financial aid funding have independent guidelines for handling sexual assault, rape, domestic violence and stalking cases.
The bill also requires that colleges include in their policies a confirmed consent clause.
A confirmed consent clause works on the idea of “yes means yes,” instead of the well-known slogan “no means no.” The idea behind the confirmed consent clause is that explicit consent to sexual activity must be present to combat instances where alcohol or other substances can impair a person’s ability to deny sexual consent.
Nineteen-year-old Contra Costa College student Ronnie Wong thinks that additional regulations are a good idea.
“I think we should have something in place to take care of our students,” he said.
With the confirmed consent regulation instituted, consent for both parties participating in the act must unquestionably confirm sexual activity. The clause calls for both parties to be sober, and consent to be verbal or written.
College and district administrators are barely aware of the bill and its approval, focusing more on the accreditation process currently taking place across the Contra Costa Community College District.
“All district administrators are swamped with the accreditation process,” Executive Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology Mojdeh Mehdizadeh said. She said that the 14-member accreditation team is the main focus of the district at the moment and that serious discussions have not yet begun districtwide.
She said that the Human Resources Department will be working with district Police Services and campus teams to work on implementing SB 967’s regulations when the accreditation process is concluded.
District Chancellor Helen Benjamin said SB 967 has not yet been reviewed at the district level. Once it is reviewed, Mehdizadeh will be responsible for its implementation.
CCC Senior Dean of Instruction Donna Floyd will be a main player in the implementation of SB 967’s requirements at the college.
“What I’ve heard is that (implementing SB 967) is about providing awareness and understanding of sexual harassment on campuses,” she said. “This will probably be a board policy. So many mandated regulations start at the board level and we provide the procedures.”
Although federal and state laws are already in place regarding sexual assault and domestic violence, the FBI’s 2010 report, “Campus Attacks,” shows that 13,842 forcible sex crimes were reported to the Department of Education between 2005 and 2008, the last year the data was available.
Student John Tolliver agreed with the SB 967’s purpose as well, although he does not feel it is extremely important due to the bill covering issues that state and federal laws already govern.
He said, “It’s not too much necessary, but it’s a good initiative in case someone needs (help).”