On Tuesday, the SUNY Board of Trustees officially approved a new sexual assault policy that will focus on affirmative consent. The move comes after Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the school system to overhaul its existing policy back in October and replace it with one modeled after the “Yes Means Yes” law enacted earlier this year in California.
According to NBC New York, the new policy will require a “clear, affirmative agreement between partners” before sexual contact can be initiated. The school’s official definition reads:
Affirmative consent is a clear, unambiguous, knowing, informed, and voluntary agreement between all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive.”
This means silence cannot be interpreted as consent, and that consent to one act does not necessarily translate to consent to all.
Cuomo supports enacting a similar state-wide law that would mandate private universities require affirmative consent.