Check out my blog post today on Gettysburg College’s reform of its “hug at your own risk” policy over at The Huffington Post:
You know a way to make it more likely to catch sex offenders? Make the definition of “sex offense” so broad that virtually any physical contact counts as sexual assault. Then whenever anyone is accused of a sex offense the authorities can find them guilty at their discretion. Sure, it means that a good number of innocent people will probably be found guilty of one of the most horrible crimes one person can commit against another, but it definitely would make prosecutions easier!
If this sounds problematic to you (and, boy, I hope it does, or else the republic is in even bigger trouble than I thought) you should check out Gettysburg College’s former sexual misconduct policy [PDF here]. Under the policy, “consent” to sexual interaction was defined as “the act of willingly and verbally agreeing (for example, by stating ‘yes’) to engage in specific sexual conduct.” The kicker is that the policy’s broad definition of “sexual interaction” includes not only sex acts but also “touching,” “hugging,” and “kissing,” and further requires nebulous “continuing and active consent.”
Does anyone get verbal consent to hug their friends and then continue to ask for it the entire hug? And how far into the hug should you check in again to make sure it is “continuing and active”? Three seconds? Five? Can you count slower if you are hugging your husband or wife?
The problem with codes like these is that they make even normal human interaction offenses, and then they ask us to trust college administrators not to abuse such power.
[For the full article click here.]
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