Minnesota needs ‘yes means yes’

As the issue of sexual assault on college campuses continues to dominate discussions across the nation, higher education and state leaders in Minnesota have plans to introduce legislation that would create an affirmative consent policy.

While details of the plan aren’t yet public or finalized, the bill will likely apply a “yes means yes” affirmative consent policy to colleges across Minnesota.

California was the first state to adopt this type of legislation, but many campuses around the United States have created individual “yes means yes” policies. Other states, including New Jersey and New Hampshire, have affirmative consent laws making the rounds in their legislatures.

Federal statistics say that as many as one in every five women is raped while in college, though this figure is disputed by some.

Stories abound in which people are sexually assaulted and find no way of punishing the perpetrator. Seventy-one schools around the country were under investigation last year for possible violations of federal law in how they handled sexual violence complaints.

These facts show that it is necessary to change how colleges and government institutions handle sexual violence.

Minnesota should take this opportunity to become a leader in sexual assault prevention and set an example for the country that rape will not be tolerated.

The Minnesota Daily Editorial Board has discussed the current progress of the state’s affirmative consent proposal, and we believe that it is on the right track toward becoming an effective law.

We hope that lawmakers come to an agreement so Minnesota can have a law that ensures protections for all its students.