Coastal Carolina University’s affirmative consent policy requires both parties in every sexual encounter to express consent enthusiastically – and soberly.
According to posters written by the CCU CARES (Campus Assault Resource and Education Support), consent must be both “enthusiastic” and “sober.” If students cannot meet the stated definition of consent, they can be charged with sexual assault.
Colin Crossman at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) points out that it is almost impossible to determine what “enthusiastic” consent means.
“If you heard ‘okay,’ or ‘sure,’ have you received consent?” Crossman asks. “Or must your advances be so irresistible that you hear nothing short of ‘Yes! You are so amazing; take me here and now!’ Are you willing to stake your academic and professional future on the answer to that question?”
The university is also suggesting that complete sobriety is necessary before students engage in sex.
“Unlike what CCU or anyone else says, drunk sex is not unlawful—incapacitated sex is,” Crossman writes. “Conflating intoxication with incapacitation is inaccurate and misleading, and it undermines legitimate efforts to stop rape. “
FIRE originally contacted the university about its consent policy, after a CCU poster describing a drunk hook-up between two students began circulating on Twitter and Reddit.
The poster reads: “Jake was drunk. Josie was drunk. Jake and Josie hooked up. Josie could not consent. The next day Jake was charged with rape.”
Many social media users asked why the poster identified the male student as a rapist, when the female student had done the exact same thing.
The university responded that the poster was out of date, and provided FIRE with the current version which says consent must be enthusiastic, sober, mutual, voluntary, and communicated clearly before any sexual activity.
CCU is not the only university enforcing a strict “affirmative consent” policy. Colleges across the country have been updating their sexual assault policies to meet a “yes means yes” standard ever since California passed a statewide law last September that changed how colleges handle rape allegations.