A new sexual assault policy requires every college and university in Connecticut to use an “affirmative consent” standard when determining whether or not sexual activity was consensual. This is commonly known as the “yes means yes” standard. The new standard has no applicability in a criminal context. This only relates to college administrative proceedings in higher education settings.

Below are relevant parts of the new law with a link to Public Act No. 16-106

Section 1. Section 10a-55m of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2016):

(a) For purposes of this section and sections 10a-55n to 10a-55q, inclusive:

(1) “Affirmative consent” means an active, clear and voluntary agreement by a person to engage in sexual activity with another person;

(2) “Awareness programming” means institutional action designed to inform the campus community of the affirmative consent standard used pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section

 

(b)(1) (1) Informing students and employees that, in the context of an alleged violation of the policy or policies regarding sexual assault and intimate partner violence, (A) affirmative consent is the standard used in determining whether consent to engage in sexual activity was given by all persons who engaged in the sexual activity, (B) affirmative consent may be revoked at any time during the sexual activity by any person engaged in the sexual activity, (C) it is the responsibility of each person to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of all persons engaged in the sexual activity to engage in the sexual activity and that the affirmative consent is sustained throughout the sexual activity, (D) it shall not be a valid excuse to an alleged lack of affirmative consent that the student or employee responding to the alleged violation believed that the student or employee reporting or disclosing the alleged violation consented to the sexual activity (i) because the responding student or employee was intoxicated or reckless or failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain whether the student or employee reporting or disclosing the alleged violation affirmatively consented, or (ii) if the responding student or employee knew or should have known that the student or employee reporting or disclosing the alleged violation was unable to consent because such student or employee was unconscious, asleep, unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition, or incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication, and (E) the existence of a past or current dating or sexual relationship between the student or employee reporting or disclosing the alleged violation and the responding student or employee, in and of itself, shall not be determinative of a finding of affirmative consent;

(h) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as requiring an institution of higher education to adopt, verbatim, the definition of “affirmative consent” set forth in subsection (a) of this section, provided the institution of higher education, in the exercise of its sole authority to adopt a definition of “affirmative consent”, uses a definition of “affirmative consent” that has the same meaning as or a meaning that is substantially similar to the definition set forth in subsection (a) of this section.

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2016/act/pa/pdf/2016PA-00106-R00HB-05376-PA.pdf

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