Syllabus for Sex: UC Irvine Teaches Incoming Freshmen About Consent Rules

UC Irvine (Chris Nugent / UC Irvine)
Chris Nugent / UC Irvine

UC Irvine began teaching incoming freshman about sexual consent rules on school grounds.

The newly-introduced topic at orientation is the bi-product of backlash over a slew of sexual assault cases across college campuses nationwide and a new California law requiring colleges to adopt sexual assault policies.

“Consent is knowing your partner wants you as much as you want them,” an actor in an educational video presentation said, according to the Orange County Register‘s Jodi Tillman who covered the freshman orientation event.

The actors reportedly pointed out ways to ask for consent including asking “is this OK?”, “what would you like me to do to you?” and the most direct of all, “do you want to have sex?” The Register points out that the mere absence of a “no” is not sufficient enough and that the student initiating intercourse needs to get a definitive “yes” or “no” from the other person. If someone is unconscious or silent it does not mean yes, the Register notes.

This past July, three victims of sexual assault sued the University of California Berkeley and the University of California Board of Regents for allegedly failing to properly prevent, investigate and handle sexual assaults that took place while they were students at the school.

This and other incidents prompted a high school senior and young entrepreneur to create a device named the “Guardian Locket” designed to help women who are in danger of getting sexually assaulted, preventing it by alerting authorities.

California reportedly became the first state to pass a law requiring that colleges adopt sexual assault policies that include “affirmative consent” in which consent is defined as an “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity,” the Register notes.

New York’s state university system this year also passed similar legislation and approximately 1,500 colleges and universities are now using some sort of affirmative consent definition, the Register notes.

Other topics in the orientation reportedly included discussion of natural disasters, fires, pandemics, gunmen on the loose and alcohol abuse. The Register notes that the orientation concluded with one final topic: How to handle stress.

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