California Governor Approves First-in-the Nation Legislation to Combat College Campus Sexual Assault - Flips the Status quo to Yes means Yes

Sunday, September 28, 2014

SACRAMENTO – Enacting critical policies and procedures to change the way colleges prevent and treat sexual assault, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 967 (De León/Jackson). Known nationally as the yes-means-yes bill, SB 967 makes California the first state in the nation to define affirmative consent and require institutes of higher education to educate students about consent and sexual assault. To ensure a fairer campus adjudication process, the bill requires increased training for the faculty reviewing complaints so that survivors of assault aren’t re-victimized by inappropriate questions when they seek justice. The bill also requires access to counseling and health service resources which are absolutely critical for recovery when assaults occur.

Meghan Warner, Chair of the University of California Associated Students Sexual Assault Commission, and the leader of the Cal Consent Campaign at UC Berkeley declared, “I am so grateful Governor Brown has signed SB 967 into law. Education and outreach measures will help create a culture of consent where survivors are supported instead of blamed, doubted, and ignored, as many of us are. The affirmative consent standard will help change the re-victimizing, insensitive reporting procedures, instead allowing students to seek help and hold perpetrators accountable. This is a major victory for all California students, not just survivors. I hope the rest of the nation will follow suit and require these much needed changes.”

“Our sisters, our daughters, our nieces – every woman deserves the right to pursue the dream of higher education without being threatened by the nightmare of violence and sexual abuse,” said Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles). “The Governor’s signature on this legislation is an important step to prevent that kind of nightmare on our college campuses.”

After months of discussions with stakeholders to develop workable solutions to a devastating problem, SB 967 received support from all three public higher education systems in California. University of California President Janet Napolitano, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White, and California Community College Chancellor Brice W. Harris all sent letters to Governor Brown asking for him to sign the legislation. Sexual assault survivors from all across California came to the Capitol to testify in front of committees, and most recently to deliver thousands of petitions to Governor Brown asking for his signature.

Joint author of SB 967 and vice-chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) said, “This bill is about changing the culture on college and university campuses to a culture of ‘no excuses’. No excuses for rape, no excuses for blaming the victims of rape, no excuses for not supporting these victims, and no excuses for turning a blind eye to the problem of campus sexual assaults. SB 967 will create safer environments for students.”