On March 24, an act was added to Section 67386 to the Education Code, relating to student safety which concerns sexual assault in community college campuses.
It states that any institution that receives public funds in aiding students with financial assistance has to have a policy addressing sexual violence on campus. This includes domestic violence, dating violence, and even stalking.
The bill states that affirmative consent, whether it is by words or clear actions, has to be given before two people engage in sexual acts or behavior. The people who want to engage in sexual activities have to make sure that they have each other’s consent.
Lack of a protest or struggle does not mean that it is consensual. Silence does not mean consent. One has to have the affirmation of the other person. Someone who is relying on nonverbal communication could easily misjudge someone’s actions and step into dangerous territory.
It also states, “consent must be present throughout sexual activity, and at any time, a participant can communicate that he or she no longer consents to continuing the sexual activity. If there is confusion as to whether a person has consented or continues to consent to sexual activity, it is essential that the participants stop the activity until the confusion can be clearly resolved.” The bill also states, “That anyone who is asleep or unconscious, incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, [or] unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition is not able to consent to the sexual activity.”
Institutions who receive public funds to aid students in financial assistance have to have a certain set of detailed and “victim-centered sexual assault policies and protocols.” Those set of rules have to cover many procedures to help students, as best as possible after the incident has happened.
Some of those policies include a statement on how the campus will “protect the confidentiality of the individuals” who were involved in the occurrence, an interview with the victim, contacting and interviewing the person who is being accused, and investigating whether or not alcohol or drugs were involved.
“It sounds like they would be putting the victim through a lot of traumatic stress,” said 19-year-old criminal justice major Nancy Mendez. “Why would it be necessary for the perpetrator to go through questioning? They can do that on their own through the police. It would be a more [dreadful] experience for the victim that what he or she has endured.”
When a community college or an educational institution, adopts these policies they will have to have a record made for future use of agreements with “less formal partnerships with existing on-campus and community based organizations.” Some of these organizations include, but are not limited to, rape crisis centers, counseling centers, and health and mental health facilities. These facilities will be easily available to any student who has experienced a recent trauma or an unwanted sexual encounter.
Valley College’s Student Health Center provides medical or psychological services. The Psychological Center is open from Monday through Thursdays, with hours varying from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Some services that are available are crisis intervention and referrals to community resources; every student is eligible for up to 12 visits per semester at no cost. Students must present their student ID and current registration indicating they have paid the health fee for that semester. As mandated by law, any conversation or experience at the Student Psychological Services will be private and confidential.
If students are going through a mental emergency and Psychological Services is not available, they can contact the 24-hour mental health information line at (800) 854-7771.