Sexual assaults on California college campuses are a problem and now lawmakers are working to find a solution.
A recently passed law is designed to re-define consent.
The legislation by Democratic State Senator Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles requires investigations of sexual assaults to seek whether affirmative consent was granted between college students. That means silence or lack of resistance is not consent
It also means a victim cannot give consent while they are drunk. It applies to all colleges and universities accepting state money for financial aid.
The bill passed in the state assembly and heads back to the senate for final approval.
Supporters said this bill, if passed, will hold all colleges and universities more accountable for sexual assault on their campuses.
Chico State officials said they are ahead of the game. They adopted rules like those in the legislation last semester.
Students said Tuesday they see plenty of college kids engaging in sexual activity while they are the under the influence -- and they have mixed feelings about whether this law is the right way to go.
“The apartments that I live in, I hear a lot of activity going on,” said Chico State junior, Kelsey Wolford. “When I can hear people partying, there's definitely not consent a lot of the time.”
Some students said they understand what lawmakers are trying to do, but that taking away a person's ability to give consent while under the influence is going too far.
“At that point maybe you shouldn't be coming onto somebody if you don't know them that well,” said Leah Gibson, a Chico State sophomore.
“That person should be with people that they trust while drinking in public and they should be aware of their surroundings, but I don't think it's right to take advantages of those types of situations as well,” said Chico State senior, Justin Brown.
The university is taking the same hard line as lawmakers. They told incoming freshman and transfer students that intoxicated people cannot give consent to sexual activity.
“Just because remains silent doesn't mean they are consenting,” said Emily Peart, administrator for Chico State’s Safe Place. “Body language does not equal consent.”
Northstate Assemblyman Dan Louge, who represents Chico, voted against this bill. We called his office, but he was not able to give us a comment.
We also contacted State Senator Jim Nielsen’s office to weigh in on this topic, but neither him nor his office returned our phone calls.