Target: Yale University President Peter Salovey
Goal: Applaud Yale University for strengthening its sexual assault policy by clarifying the meaning of “consent”
In order to mitigate sexual assault on Yale’s campus, Yale officials have worked to clarify the types of situations that should be considered a sex crime. University officials recently released in a document many examples of nonconsensual sexual activities in order to clearly outline when the consent of students has been violated. In August 2013, Yale University received criticism for not expelling students who committed rape and other sexual crimes on campus. The decision to address the prevalence of sexual assault on campus and its efforts to mitigate rape by taking it seriously must be applauded.
Reports of sexual misconduct demonstrate that none of the students found guilty of sexual assault in 2013 were expelled for their actions. Student activists were outraged at the school’s light punishments despite the fact that Yale has been subject to many federal investigations to ensure that it justly and effectively handles all rape cases. The more detailed and descriptive policy is a response to this increased criticism. Yale president Peter Salovey believes that more information regarding the meaning of “nonconsensual sex” would help to advise the school community about sexual assault and understand the punishment for engaging in it.
The new policy maintains the current definition of consent on Yale’s campus as requiring clear and voluntary agreement throughout the sexual encounter. Both parties must clearly say yes. It presents various scenarios that describe examples of nonconsensual encounters as well as counter examples of what might have happened had the encounter gone differently in order to be considered consensual.
Board members for Students Active For Ending Rape believe that the updated policy marks some progress towards mitigating sexual assault. They believe that Yale now has one of the most detailed and concrete definitions of consent. Only defining consent is not satisfactory; but by providing examples, students can better understand how it can be put into practice.
Throughout the United States, student activists have mounted increasing pressure on their school administrations to take stronger measures to protect students from rape on campus and to hand out harsher punishments. Such efforts have sparked a national dialogue regarding the bounds of consent, and it is propelling colleges like Yale to educate its students about it. However, such efforts have drawn some criticism. Many conservatives argue that detailed sexual assault policies hinder students from engaging in normal dating relationships and that it infringes on their right to free speech. In the context of sexual violence, however, the protection of students should take priority.
Please sign this petition to commend Yale University officials and Yale president Peter Salovey for taking rape seriously by clarifying consent and better educating its students regarding nonconsensual encounters. Such efforts will help minimize the prevalence of sexual assault on campuses throughout the country.
Dear Yale University President Peter Salovey,
We applaud you for your efforts to combat sexual assault on campus by clarifying the meaning of “consent” and better educating your students about nonconsensual activities. Your more descriptive policy comes in light of the criticism your institution drew after it was made known that none of the students guilty of sexual assault were expelled.
Student activists nationally have mounted pressure on administrations to take rape seriously and to hand out harsher punishments for those guilty of sexual assault. We commend you for taking steps towards mitigating sexual assault on your campus.
[Your Name Here]
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