RELEASE: College Campus Sexual Assault Legislation Passes the Senate - Providing Justice through Uniformity of Response Policies and Protocols

May 29, 2014

SACRAMENTO – Highlighting the need for a major culture change, Senators Kevin de Len (D-Los Angeles) and Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) secured the votes necessary for Senate Bill 967 to pass the California State Senate. This legislation will require California colleges and universities to address campus sexual violence by requiring them to adopt consistent survivor-centered sexual assault response policies and protocols that follow best practices and professional standards. The Senate floor vote on May 29, 2014, was 27 ayes – 4 noes.

“The federal government is currently investigating 55 colleges and universities. Obviously, there is a problem,” said Senator De León (D-Los Angeles). “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’.”

“This past weekend’s events in Isla Vista confirm that misogyny exists on and around our campuses, and we need to confront it,” said State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara). “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.”

SB 967 LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL:

o        Require California colleges and universities, as part of their policy regarding campus sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, to include all of the following:

o          An affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by a complainant.

o          Prohibition on an accused perpetrator using self-intoxication or recklessness as a valid excuse.  It would also not be a valid excuse if the accused failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain consent.

o          An explicit provision that an individual is unable to give consent for sexual activity if the individual is asleep or unconscious; incapacitated due to drugs and/or alcohol; or unable to communicate due to a mental and/or physical condition.

o          A preponderance of the evidence standard in the determination of disciplinary action.

o        Require colleges and universities to adopt detailed and victim-centered sexual assault response policies and protocols that protect the confidentiality of students and follow best practices and professional standards.

o        Require colleges and universities to enter into memorandums of understanding, agreements, or collaborative partnerships with existing on campus and community-based organizations including rape crisis centers, to assist victims with accessing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal, and other support services.

o        Require colleges and universities to implement comprehensive prevention and orientation programs addressing sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.  The programs should include an array of prevention strategies including women’s empowerment, campaigns to raise awareness, primary prevention, bystander intervention, and risk reduction.

 

SB 967 is joint-authored by Senator Hannah Beth Jackson; Principal co-authored by Assemblymber Bonnie Lowenthal; and co-authored by Senators Jim Beall, Noreen Evans, Cathleen Galgiani, Fran Pavley, Norma Torres, and Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez, Bob Wieckowski and Das Williams. Groups in support include the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, California State University Student Association, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, and the University of California Student Association.

This legislation will next be heard by the State Assembly.

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Expert Denice Labertew, J.D. (CALCASA) and student leaders available for questions via phone.

For video footage of the bill introduction press conference go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcRoQ0urMiE

See video