Despite the ridicule, officials at the college haven’t backed down since 1991 — and now, they see the rest of the country slowly starting to change its tune.In the 1990s, once it unveiled its Sexual Offense Prevention Policy (SOPP), the small Ohio school became transformed into the ultimate symbol of overzealous liberalism.“The policy is fairly embedded into the culture,” Rosa said.“I think if you were to survey students, you’d be surprised to learn how many of them know of the SOPP program, how many of them are proud of it, and how many of them use the language of affirmative consent.“May I elevate the level of sexual intimacy by feeling your buttocks? Neither Antioch’s rules nor more recent campus sexual-assault reform has created the bemoaned class of well-intentioned Casanovas wrongly convicted of rape.(Campus courts don’t prosecute felonies; they only enforce Title IX’s demand that women’s education not be impeded by the threat of sexual violence and, in the process, ask some people to leave campus.) As far as I know, they haven’t turned sex into a legal mediation session, either.
“I can safely say that both of those schools are now working in the direction of creating policies that resemble ours.” Rosa is new to the school this year, but he said that Antioch’s reputation precedes it.
But what was once seen as an outlier at Antioch is increasingly becoming best practice in the higher education community.
“There’s quite a surge in support of a ‘Yes means yes’ formula,” Ada Meloy, the general counsel for the American Council on Education, recently told Insider Higher Education.
“Media attention didn’t even really explode until 1993, which, of course, was already two years into us living with policy where it wasn’t that controversial, because there were already two incoming classes of students who sort of thought this was normal and status quo.” Rosa predicted that at some point within the next 10 years, affirmative consent policies will be a “given” at most college campuses across the country.
“I think Antioch has become somewhat of an example and a role model for this notion that consent can become something that students translate to their own language and even something they use to enhance their sexual experience in a healthy fashion,” he said.