MARGARET WENTE: The New Campus Sex Puritans.
Sixty years ago, sexual behaviour among the young caused deep alarm among the puritanical religious right. Today, it causes deep alarm among the puritanical progressive left. Like their forebears, they are doing their best to restrict and regulate it.
This weekend, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that makes universities redefine consensual sex. From now on, students must effectively obtain the “affirmative consent” of their partners, which must be “ongoing” every step of the way. Those accused of violating the consent rule will be judged on the preponderance of the evidence. Perpetrators face suspension or expulsion, and universities face heavy penalties for failure to enforce.
The new measure is designed to stem a tidal wave of rape on campus that, in fact, does not exist. (Violent crime, including sexual assault, has been in decline for 20 years.) Even so, universities across North America have set up vast new administrative apparatuses to deal with the crisis. Many of them have also expanded the meaning of “sexual violence” to include anything that makes you feel bad.
You don’t have a right not to feel bad, after sex or at any other time.
Domestic violence, dating violence and stalking – three categories added to the annual Jeanne Clery Act crime disclosure list – show that UC Davis, like all campuses, is not immune to any of the crimes.
Starting this year, colleges and universities were required to compile reports on the three categories. The report indicates there were 11 cases of domestic violence, five instances of dating violence and 17 cases of stalking on property associated with UC Davis.
The report further indicates there were 24 cases of sex offenses in 2013, compared to 18 in 2012. There were seven cases of aggravated assault in 2013, compared with nine the year before.
UC Davis has over 34,000 students enrolled. Given the numbers above, it sounds like a relatively safe place. Doesn’t it make you wonder where all this talk of “rape culture” comes from? A cynical person might conclude that such talk is designed to rile people up and get them to support a certain political party.
Good thing I’m not that cynical, right?