“No means no” is no longer good enough

Lawmakers in California are considering legislation

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – California lawmakers are considering legislation that would force colleges to be more specific in their code-of-conduct policies and 22News found out Monday some schools in Massachusetts have already made changes to theirs.

For a long time “No means no” has been a part of the sexual consent policy on college campuses across the country, but some say that’s no longer good enough.

Richie Pyne, a Springfield College graduate, said, “It could be difficult, especially if people have consumed a lot of drinks and their inhibitions and thoughts tend to go away.”

Lawmakers in California are considering legislation that would force colleges to adopt an “affirmative consent standard;” in other words, they want to know clear consent was given.

22News found local colleges are already doing it on their own. Melissa Ortendahl is updating Springfield College’s policy this summer before students return. She says it’s not just about defining what is and is not sexual consent, but also educating students on how to ask for consent.

“What are we doing to help educate our students on how to get that? How to gain that consent. How to have those face-to-face interactions and conversations in the heat of the moment where you have to be vulnerable and you have to be ok with the person saying no,” said Ortendahl.

Students say it’s a sensitive issue they’re happy to see is being given attention. Maria Francese, a Springfield College graduate student, told 22News, “If its becoming more defined, students are educated on that and they can make the right decisions when it comes to what they’re doing.”

Defining consent is a growing trend on college campuses, Springfield College hopes to have theirs completed before students return this fall.

Here is more information for on the code of conduct at Western New England University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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