In 2014, California became the first state to require university students to receive “active consent” before all sexual activity. The outcome of the case pits the state law against the university’s policy.
U.S.C.’s rules state that a person who is intoxicated is “not capable of giving valid, affirmative consent.” A student misconduct investigation involving Mr. Premjee within the university’s Title IX office remains active. If found responsible, Mr. Premjee, a junior studying business administration, could be expelled. The female student has not been identified, which is routine in cases involving claims of sexual assault.
“Affirmative” or “active” consent varies across states, but it typically requires a verbal or nonverbal “yes” from both parties. Under President Barack Obama, universities used Title IX, the 1972 law requiring universities to protect students from rape and sexual assault, to investigate allegations involving their students.
In 2014, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York was quick to follow California, ordering the State University of New York to overhaul its sexual assault policies and make affirmative consent mandatory on all 64 campuses. SUNY obliged, but three years later, an appeals court reversed a decision by SUNY Potsdam to expel a student for sexual assault. The court claimed that the university’s investigation had been based on hearsay.
In 2015, Indiana University, which defines consent as something that requires sobriety, found that a male student had sexually assaulted a female student who had been drinking. The case was investigated by the university’s Title IX office, and the male student was expelled, but in 2016 prosecutors dismissed the case in criminal court, citing insufficient evidence.
Many universities, from public state colleges to the Ivy Leagues, have come under fire for how they have dealt with sexual assault investigations. The Chronicle of Higher Education has tracked the federal government’s investigations of colleges’ possible mishandling of sexual assault reports. As of Saturday, there were 419 such investigations, of which 350 remained open.
In early July, the education secretary, Betsy DeVos, said she intended to take a hard look at whether the Obama administration’s campus rape policies, which jump-started the “affirmative” and “active” consent movement, deprived accused students of their rights.
In an interview with The…