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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.


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

Publication Title

Chronicle of Higher Education

Publication Citation

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