By Blake Neff at The Daily Caller
A sexual assault policy currently in force at a Georgia public college appears to say the physically disabled are unable to consent to sex.
The school in question is Armstrong State University, one of the many schools affiliated with the vast University System of Georgia. The school has a sexual assault policy that has been in force since September of last year, but has an unusual provision that just attracted notice.
Like virtually every other sexual assault policy in the country, in college and otherwise Armstrong’s policy emphasizes that consent is required for any sexual activity. The policy offers several clarifying points regarding consent, such as “Consent to one form of sexual activity should not, and cannot, be taken as consent to any other sexual activity” and “Individuals who consent to sex must be able to fully understand what they are doing.”
Abruptly, though, the policy includes this warning regarding consent, which was highlighted Wednesday by Samantha Harris at the Foundation for Individual Rights In Education:
“In addition, persons under the age of 16 and persons who have a physical and/or mental impairment are unable to give consent.”
Read in a straightforward manner, this clause appears to be telling students that those who are confined to a wheelchair, or are deaf, or have any other substantial physical disability somehow lose the ability to consent to sexual activity. The clause is unlikely to refer to impairment from alcohol or other drugs, as a separate clause addresses that matter.
Needless to say, individuals who have handicapped bodies but sound minds are perfectly capable of consenting to sex. In a few weeks, a theater in Toronto, Canada is even scheduled to host an “orgy” for the disabled in an effort to overcome the misconception that the physically disabled are desexualized. (RELATED: Toronto Holding An Accessible Orgy For The Disabled This Summer)
While sexual consent might be beyond the profoundly mentally handicapped, that’s not the only mental impairment that exists. Many grapple with illness, such as major depression or schizophrenia, and it appears Armstrong’s policy might categorically exclude those people from consenting as well.
Greg Piper of The College Fix reached out to Armstrong for clarification, and was told the policy was being “reviewed for clarity” and would be updated for the 2015 school year.
The vague wording of Armstrong’s policy reflects the wider difficulty universities have had with defining what qualifies as sexual assault and what is just, well, sex. At some schools, such as Occidental College in California, students have been found responsible for sexual assault after having sex with individuals who are drunk but not incapacitated to the degree that would typically be needed for a criminal conviction.