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Former NY lieutenant governor blasts campus sexual assault policies


Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York under Gov. George Pataki, has taken current Gov. Andrew Cuomo to task for his "toughest in the nation" proposal for campus sexual assault policies.

"It would make campuses in New York a hostile environment for young men," McCaughey wrote in the New York Post. "One misstep and they could find themselves accused of 'sexual assault,' denied a fair hearing, expelled and unemployable."

She also said Cuomo's proposal, which introduces "affirmative consent" to private colleges, "criminalizes normal sexual interactions." Affirmative consent requires a "conscious and voluntary agreement" that is "ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time." This means a person must ask for consent at every step of the sexual encounter, from the first kiss through the end. And revoking consent at any time has come to mean even after the encounter has ended.

McCaughey quoted a "sexual misconduct scenario" drafted by Yale University that shows students how affirmative consent is supposed to work:

"Morgan and Kai are friends who begin dancing and kissing at a party. They are both drunk although not to the point of incapacitation. Together they decide to go to Kai's room. They undress each other and begin touching each other. Morgan moves as if to engage in oral sex and looks up at Kai questioningly. Kai nods in agreement and Morgan proceeds. Subsequently, without pausing to check for further agreement, Kai begins to perform oral sex on Morgan. Morgan lies still for a few minutes then moves away, saying it is late and they should sleep."

Under this scenario, despite the fact that consent has been clear throughout the encounter, neither party was incapacitated and Morgan willingly participated without any indication he or she (these names are ambiguous) was not into it, Kai is guilty of sexual misconduct. Time to punish him or her and put a permanent stain on their record as a rapist or sex offender.

"Affirmative consent is dangerous enough, but Cuomo would also deny accused students due process," McCaughey wrote. "What goes on in a dark dorm room is usually one student's word against another's."

She also described the bill's use of the word "victim" or "survivor" as a "bias that the accuser is always right."

McCaughey says the real problem on college campuses is alcohol abuse, which should be the focus of any college policy – not "stripping college men of their legal rights and criminalizing dorm-room hook-ups."

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