The Legal Limits of 'Yes Means Yes'

Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 15, 2016, p. A21.

U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 16-5

5 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2016

See all articles by Paul H. Robinson

Paul H. Robinson

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Date Written: January 10, 2016

Abstract

This op-ed piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education argues that the affirmative consent rule of "yes means yes" is a useful standard that can help educate and ideally change norms regarding consent to sexual intercourse. But that goal can best be achieved by using “yes means yes” as an ex ante announcement of the society's desired rule of conduct. That standard only becomes problematic when used as the ex post principle of adjudication for allegations of rape. Indeed, those most interested in changing existing norms ought to be the persons most in support of distinguishing these two importantly different roles for "yes means yes," as an ex ante rule of conduct versus an ex post principle of adjudication.

Keywords: Criminal procedure, higher education, rape, assault, affirmative consent, student discipline, punishment, blame, burden of proof, yes means yes, changing norms

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Paul H., The Legal Limits of 'Yes Means Yes' (January 10, 2016). Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 15, 2016, p. A21.; U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 16-5. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2734320

Paul H. Robinson (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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