SDSU students advocate California “yes means yes” bill

by Emily Brennan, Contributor

Update: A third sexual assault was reported to San Diego State Police Sept. 20.

“Consent is hot, rape is not,” read a sign. “Sign the bill,” urged a demonstrator.

Approximately a dozen students gathered Thursday in front of Hepner Hall to support the affirmative action bill and advocate a positive campus culture.

The demonstration was in light of two sexual assaults recently reported to the San Diego State Police Department: On Sept. 1 a woman was sexually assaulted at an off-campus party, and on Sept. 6 a woman was sexually assaulted in her apartment at The Granada.

Those rallying spoke up about how students and the campus culture affect sexual assaults.

“The culture on campus promotes or facilitates sexual assault”, English senior Douglas Payne said. “Publications such as the Koala constantly make rape jokes and jokes about the LGBT community as well.”

Speaking through a megaphone, demonstrators voiced their concerns about the safety on campus.

“We are here to get an educatio09_22_14_NEWS_rally2_kristiancarreonn, not to get hurt,” psychology senior Leslie Padilla said. “This is a beautiful campus. We should be proud to walk on it and not have fear.”

According to The Bureau of Justice Statistics only 36 percent of rapes are ever reported.

“It makes me feel sad that people are not comfortable telling people because something should be done but they don’t feel safe enough to speak up,” undeclared freshman Morgan Bailey said.

At the moment the affirmative action bill, commonly referred to as the “yes means yes” bill, is sitting on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. Brown must sign the bill before to Sept. 30 for it to pass.

If the bill passes, California will be the first state to pass a bill requiring an explicit yes before sexual intercourse. A “yes,” according to the bill, may come verbally, through a smile, or in the form of a nod as long as it is a clear and consistent yes from those involved.

“There is more education that comes along with the bill,” nursing junior Stephanie Tonegato said. “This bill will protect victims, add more education, and just make a safer environment.”

In the recent crime alerts, SDSUPD offered the following advice: “Be aware of your surroundings, avoid dimly lit locations, avoid alcohol consumption to the point of impairment and immediately report suspicious activity to the police department.”

The students gathered for the protest were members of the Facebook page “Concerned Students.” The page unites students from various majors and clubs to rally together on various causes.

Tonegato said some of the members previously protested against a Planned Parenthood demonstration.

“There are people that go Saturday mornings and yell at the people walking in, so the (members) made signs saying ‘we support you,’” Tonegato said.