[caption id="attachment_140664" align="aligncenter" width="1201"]Image via WJON


Officials at the University of Minnesota have decided to postpone the implementation of a new sexual assault prevention policy over concerns that it would leave the accused with essentially no defense in legal proceedings.

An “affirmative consent” rule, which was slated to take effect this week after a 30-day comment period, has been delayed until September to give members of the university’s board of regents more time to debate it.

In a meeting on Wednesday, Regent Michael Hsu said he would like to hear from the university’s legal counsel before making a decision. Board members said they been receiving numerous phone calls and emails from those who are concerned about the implications of the new rule.

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler agreed to postpone the rule, although he later suggested the board might be overreaching its authority.

Similar rules, also known as “yes means yes,” have recently been adopted at college campuses across the country, requiring students to obtain “affirmative consent” through clear and unambiguous words or actions before engaging in any sexual activity, or face expulsion for sexual assault.

Supporters say that the policy will prevent sexual assault on college campuses by requiring both parties to say yes to all encounters. On the other hand, critics argue that the rule puts an unfair burden of proof on the accused.

In an interview with WCCO Sunday Morning, University of Minnesota student body president Joelle Stangler said that students support the policy when they understand how it is intended to work.

“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.