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Area Schools Want To Make It Easier to Pursue Campus Sex Assault Cases

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Representatives of local universities turned out yesterday at Philadelphia City Council, to give their perspective on the concept of a wider standard for what constitutes sexual assault on campuses.

Supporters say the concept, nicknamed "Yes Means Yes," will make it easier to prosecute cases of sexual assault on college campuses.

At many schools, the victim has to have explicitly said "no" for a case to go forward.  Under the new guideline, a case could be prosecuted under all circumstances unless the alleged victim explicitly said yes.

At the City Council hearing on the issue, Michele Rovinsky-Mayer, associate vice president and Title IX coordinator at Drexel University, said that school recently adopted such a standard.

"There was a modification of our policy, our sexual harassment and misconduct policy, and our current definition of consent includes that it must be affirmative consent.  And that affirmative consent -- whether verbal or through clear and unambiguous actions -- needs to exist throughout the conduct and any contact that the individuals may have," she explained.

Supporters, including some councilmembers who arranged the hearing, hope the state legislature will mandate "yes means yes" for universities that receive state funding, as was done in California.

Other universities that sent representatives to the hearing were La Salle, Chestnut Hill College, and the University of the Arts.  Temple and Penn submitted statements but sent no representative to the hearing.  (Friday was Temple's commencement).

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