New Jersey Senate Bill 2478 is a landmark proposal that has moved through the legislature. It is a bill designed to prevent sexual assault on college campuses. A substantial outcome of this bill is the establishment of a consistent standard for sexual violence policies at New Jersey colleges, as it mandates “affirmative consent” as the criteria used to determine whether consent was given by both parties. Affirmative consent means conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. The bill also protects victims or survivors of sexual assault by setting guidelines to correct common misconceptions regarding consent and a person’s ability to give consent.
Members of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities and other higher education institutions advocated that such practices are enacted to ensure student safety within New Jersey’s higher education communities. The structure of sexual assault regulations and its proposals are vast, and having this cohesive and focused analysis is necessary.
Ramapo has implemented this bill in the form of the “Sexual Misconduct Policy Governing Students,” which was released earlier this semester. This policy, which is the amalgamation of existing Ramapo policies, stems from the recommendations outlined in the consultant reports commissioned in August. Adoption of this policy coordinates and centralizes a number of policies that are currently contained within the Student Handbook and Code of Conduct into one stand-alone umbrella policy on sexual misconduct. This umbrella policy will fulfill the requirements of the Clery Act, Title IX and Senate Bill 2478. It also takes into account the missing policy statements and other language missing from the “Policy Prohibiting Discrimination By or Against Students” so that the institution has a new umbrella policy governing all forms of sexual misconduct that meets the current requirements of the U.S. Department of Education and encompasses best practice from institutions of higher education throughout the United States.
Want to become involved with the CA$H committee? Please join in on these discussions at our weekly CA$H meetings on Thursdays at 6 p.m. in SC 225.