Readers React: Regulating sex on campus
The Times is right to question legislative attempts to micromanage sex on campus, like California’s SB 967, which would “tell young people what steps they must take in the privacy of their own dorm rooms” by requiring “affirmative consent.” (“Sex and college students: Should the Legislature be in the mix too?,” Editorial, May 28)
The legislation’s affirmative consent requirement doesn’t apply just to sex. It covers all physical contact for which consent is required by a college’s sexual assault policy, like intimate touching. In real life, such contact is welcomed after it begins, not affirmatively consented to in advance. Because of that, the legislation would result in most student couples being deemed guilty of sexual assault.
Consent should include acquiescence, not just affirmative permission. My wife and daughter hug me without advance permission, but it’s consensual because they know I will welcome it.
The writer, a senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, is a former U.S. Department of Education lawyer.
It’s fine for lawmakers to impose “opt-in” provisions on telemarketers and other unwelcome intrusions from the business world. But now the nanny-staters in California want that concept applied to the dreamy realm of college romance.
Legislation in Sacramento essentially would mandate that a would-be collegiate Romeo obtain an express opt-in before proceeding to bed with his sweetheart, as if any such target of Romeo’s desires doesn’t have ample opportunity to communicate her unequivocal wish to opt out.
Trying to legislate bedroom behavior may constitute the ultimate fool’s errand.
We the people can legislate words and actions that permit college students to engage in sex acts, but we can’t legislate gun control?
So, no more figuring out “Should or shouldn’t I?” But go ahead, the law makes it easy to decide, “Do I kill this person?”
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