Sexual consent policy in force at Antioch

Sexual consent policy in force at Antioch

Associated Press

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio (AP) -- Students at Antioch College must offer mutual
consent to kiss, then get consent again to go further, and again and again
right up to having sex.

A school policy adopted in January to combat acquaintance rape and other
sexual offenses was revised recently to state that obtaining consent is a
continuing process.

"On one level it has been widely supported," said Jim Mann, spokesman for
the college, where about 70 percent of the 700 students are women. "On
another level it has been greeted with some humor."

Under the guidelines, "Verbal consent should be obtained with each new
level of physical and-or sexual contact or conduct in any given
interaction, regardless of who initiates it.

"Asking, `Do you want to have sex with me?' is not enough. The request for
consent must be specific for each act."

Mann said, "What this establishes is, `I did say no.' It also establishes
that if someone is drunk or passed out, they do not have the ability to

The policy is enforced through an on-campus review of any alleged
violations, with violators subject to disciplinary action that can include
being kicked out of school, Mann said. Victims can also complain to police
and be assigned advocates to represent them.

Mann said he knows of no reports of any violations since the new policy was
adopted last January. He said new students arriving next week will
participate in an orientation that will include a presentation of the
policy and discussion of it.

Jonathan Platt, a 24-year-old Antioch sophomore, said the policy is
"well-cushioned in common sense."

"The policy is not radical," Platt said. "It's not asking too much from

Caryn McTighe Musild, a senior research associate for the Washington-based
Association of American Colleges, said she knows of no school policy
elsewhere as broad-ranging as Antioch's.

Ms. Musild said she believes it's part of an attempt by schools to
intervene in campus violence by more clearly defining their sexual
harassment and offense policies.

"I think what it's suggesting is that students talk to each other and
communicate to each other about the relationship they want," she said.

Bernice Sandler, a senior associate with the Washington-based Center for
Women's Studies, said Antioch's policy is part of a new trend in the law
toward "affirmative consent" prior to intercourse.

Ms. Sandler said the school's policy is apparently aimed at avoiding
situations where men mistake women's behavior as giving consent.

"Although it does put a burden on the person who is initiating the act, it
protects them," she said.