By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The University of Minnesota is postponing the implementation of a new sexual assault policy over concerns that it might infringe on the rights of those who are accused.

The policy is part of a national movement known as affirmative consent, or “yes means yes.”

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The affirmative consent movement has been growing across the country in the wake of sexual assaults that have taken place after victims have been passed out after consuming alcohol.

Supporters say the policy would prevent sexual assaults in these and other cases by requiring both parties to say yes to all sexual encounters. The policy was supposed to be implemented at the University of Minnesota this month.

But that has been delayed after some members of the university’s board of regents expressed concerns that the policy would stack the deck against those that are accused.

And some students say they worry that they would be required to agree to contracts that are posted on affirmative consent websites.


The policy does have the support of the university President Eric Kaler, as well as student leaders.

“This is something students support,” said student body president Joelle Stangler, who was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning.

She said a contract is in no way part of the policy.

“The policy just seeks to clarify our understanding of consent, so students come in and they are informed as to what consent is on campus,” Stangler said.

In a compromise, the regents and Kaler agreed to postpone the possible implementation of the policy until legal concerns can be reviewed and until after the next board meeting in September.

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To see the full interview with student body president Joelle Stangler, watch the video above.

Esme Murphy