Minnesota colleges look to revamp affirmative consent policies - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Minnesota colleges look to revamp affirmative consent policies


 NORTHFIELD, Minn. (KTTC) -- Student leaders at the University of Minnesota are examining a proposed rule that would require students to give some form of "yes", or consent, before having sex.

This type of policy has been implemented at a number of colleges in the state, including The University of St. Thomas, Augsburg College and Carleton College. 

Students at Carleton College believe that affirmative consent policies are crucial when it comes to relationships.

Carleton College student Rebecca Spiro said, "It's not enough for someone to say 'no'. They also have to say 'yes' to some kind of sexual act, or it's not OK."

At Carlton College, there are student volunteers who serve as listeners and peer counselors for anyone who needs support. 

Student Brit Fryer spoke out on why he believes affirmative consent policies are beginning to pop up at more colleges across the country. 

"We're in an age when people are more comfortable speaking out on their experiences. I think it's something we've always dealt with, I think that the culture is shifting and that people are more open to talking about it. I think that's why colleges are having to respond," said Fryer. 

Supporters say an affirmative consent policy would make it easier to determine whether sex is consensual and, hopefully, will result in fewer cases of sexual harassment or assault. 

The current policy at the University of Minnesota-Rochester requires consent to engage in sexual activity, though it is vague. A panel is looking into the merits of changing the university's current policy, hopefully by the end of spring semester. Student senators from UMR are engaged in the process which could be put in place system-wide.

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