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As Ramesh Ponnuru asks in Bloomberg View, “Would a college really expel a student for not getting an explicit verbal ‘yes’ before kissing someone?”
Maybe not. Administrators might think that would be overkill, or not want the bad publicity or lawsuits that would follow. On the other hand, they might not want to deal with the consequences of letting someone they’ve labeled a perpetrator of sexual assault stay on campus, either.
One defense of the law is that it doesn’t seek to micromanage sexual activity on campus, since it applies only to cases where assault is alleged. But that’s hardly a defense at all, since it could apply to a range of overbroad laws. A vague statute that appears to criminalize some ordinary activity won’t be applied against everyone who does it; it will come into force only when authorities bring a case, a complaint is filed and so on. What the critics of the California law are worried about is the possibility that regrets or misunderstandings will lead to such allegations.
The law seeks to reduce one sort of injustice: the kind that happens when a victim of assault has to keep going to classes with her assailant. But supporters seem utterly dismissive of the idea that another type of injustice — the false or misguided accusation that results in a student’s expulsion — matters at all.
“Early ’70s California was, not to put too fine a point on it, a great place to get laid. I can vouch the same was true in the late ’80s and early ’90s, too,” Steve Green quipped last week. “But no longer. Not today. Not with the Junior Anti-Sex League running the joint.”
Sacramento really needs to stop looking at 1984 as a how-to guide for government. In the meantime though, there’s a simple solution available to the prospective student or his parent looking for a safer educational environment:
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