University sexual assault awareness initiatives a step in the
Last year ASUCD passed Senate Bill No. 67, reimplementing
the Sexual Assault Awareness & Advocacy Committee (SAAAC) to be
comprised of seven voting members, nine ex-officio members and two
ASUCD senators. The committee intends to improve the educational
programs that address rape culture by collaborating with ASUCD and
several campus departments.
SB 67 cites personnel issues for their inability to get the committee’s
feet off the ground last year, but ASUCD hopes to reinstate the committee
in the coming month with some added structural changes. We commend
ASUCD for recognizing the urgency of the issue and taking initiative to
combat the prevalence of sexual assault.
The University of California Student Association (UCSA) kicked off
the UConsent campaign this August, encouraging students from all UC
campuses to join together to build on President Obama’s recent “It’s On
Us” campaign. UC Davis endorsed the national efforts Monday.
Gov. Jerry Brown has also begun to tackle the issue on Sept. 28
by signing Senate Bill No. 967. The bill, commonly known as the “Yes
Means Yes” bill, addresses the issue of sexual assault on California college
campuses and is the first of its kind to lay out a clear definition of consent.
Additionally, it will affect how all California universities and community
colleges address rape and sexual assault accusations. It states that the
standard of “affirmative consent” would require both participants to actively
and verbally consent to sexual activity.
It is imperative that the rest of the nation follow suit in defining
consent, especially as in this past year, several sexual assault survivors
spurred the U.S. Department of Education to conduct an investigation of 55
colleges for violating Title IX regulations, which detail how schools handle
sexual assault cases.
We hope to see more action taken by ASUCD in the future. The
SAAAC is certainly a step in the right direction to bring awareness to sexual
assault on our campus. It is pleasing to see that the UC regents, along
with the state of California, are taking a hard look at the current realities
of sexual assault and making serious attempts to educate and provide
resources to students.