The Metropolitan State Student Senate has joined an effort to make “yes means yes” the standard of consent for sexual activity. A motion to change the definition of consent in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system passed without discussion or dissent at the Student Senate meeting on Dec. 1. Senators hope their statement will pressure the Board of Trustees of Minnesota State to amend their policy on sexual violence.
The amended board policy 1B.3 would read (proposed new language underlined):
“Minnesota State requires affirmative consent to be present and expressed by both parties participating in sexual activity. Affirmative consent is defined as ‘informed, freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity that is expressed by clear and unambiguous words or actions.’ If coercion, intimidation, threats, and/or physical force are used, there is no consent. If the complainant is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that the complainant cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes conditions due to alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious, or physically involuntarily restrained, or if either party is not of legal age pursuant to Minnesota State Law. A lack of protest, absence of resistance, or silence do not imply consent. Consent must be present through the entire duration of sexual activity, and may be withdrawn at any time. When consent is withdrawn, all sexual activity must stop, once consent is withdrawn it must be affirmatively given again before sexual activity resumes. The existence of a present or past dating or romantic relationship does not imply consent to future sexual activity. Prior dating or romantic relationships or sexual activity will not have an influence on officers determining the presence of consent. Whether the respondent has taken advantage of a position of influence over the complainant may be a factor in determining consent.”
The language change was drafted by Students United, the advocacy group that represents the interests of students at the seven Minnesota State universities. To date, the student governing boards of Winona State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead have passed identical motions.
Similar policies have been enacted at schools throughout the state, including the University of Minnesota, Macalester College and Carleton College.
Applicants needed for Student Senate
The Student Senate will have member vacancies in January 2018 due to the graduation of several Senators on December 9. Applicants must be degree-seeking students, in good academic standing, and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better. To be eligible, students must attend at least two Senate events and be endorsed by two current Senators. An application form is available at OrgSync; applicants will be contacted about speaking at an upcoming meeting.
The Student Senate is the student governing body of Metropolitan State University. Senators must attend meetings, sit on two committees, and conduct office hours. They are paid a stipend. For more information, email email@example.com.
Student representatives are also needed to serve on university councils such as the Student Success Council, AQIP and Continuous Improvement Council, Community Engagement Council, Equity and Inclusion Council, Resource Planning and Alignment Council, and University Technology Advisory Council. Councils meet on a regular basis during the academic year. An application form is available at OrgSync.
Mascot task force seeks input
The Metro State mascot task force needs ideas for a school mascot. Students, staff and faculty are asked to complete an online survey at orgsync.com/43143/forms/295679. Recommendations are requested by Jan. 31. The top five ideas will be put to a school-wide vote via email in the spring.
All are welcome to attend task force meetings from 5 to 6 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month in Student Center 201. “We need people to show up and bring their ideas and energy,” said the task force chair, Jessica Maistrovich, Treasurer of the Student Senate. For more information, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.