A push to update the affirmative consent policy, led by Students United and supported by the IFO, was approved by the Board of Trustees in February. The IFO had been instrumental in achieving an extended deadline for the comment period – to allow faculty a meaningful opportunity to provide input. This extension proved critical, as it allowed the IFO equity committees to review the proposed amendment and raise critical concerns about the proposed language. These concerns were incorporated into proposed changes which the IFO presented at statewide meet and confer.
During the week before the Board of Trustees meeting, representatives of the IFO and Students United met and worked out a language change to the definition of “affirmative consent” which we agreed addressed our concerns, making the definition clearer and stronger: “Consent is informed, freely given, and mutually understood willingness to participate in sexual activity that is expressed by clear, unambiguous, and affirmative words or actions.”
MinnState’s Chief Diversity Officer Clyde Pickett agreed to our proposed change, and that change was included in the amendment adopted by the Board of Trustees – after a robust discussion, a friendly amendment to make the policy apply explicitly to the Board of Trustees, and a vote to waive the second reading.
Thanks to all who reviewed the proposed amendment and provided your comments. And especially thanks to IFO member Ellen Holmgren (Metro State University), who brought her expertise to bear in discussions with Students United to reach the language adopted.
This is yet another example of the IFO advocating for faculty and contributing positively to improve campus climate.
If you have any questions, please contact Kathryn Engdahl, firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-227-8442, ext. 17.