Sex

University Accidentally Says Disabled People Can't Consent to Sex

Wording error.

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Wheelchair
Dreamstime

University sexual misconduct policies often use confusing and contradictory language, but Armstrong State University's policy might be the first to contain an error as glaring as this one: no one who has a "physical and/or mental impairment" is capable of consenting to sex, according to Armstrong.

Under the consent section of the policy:

1) Consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is more ambiguous than explicitly stating one's wants and limitations. Clarification of a partner's explicit consent is recommended.

2) Consent to one form of sexual activity should not, and cannot, be taken as consent to any other sexual activity.

3) Individuals who consent to sex must be able to fully understand what they are doing. For example, alcohol or other drugs may impair a person's ability to give valid consent if the person cannot comprehend the who, what, where, when, why, or how of a sexual interaction. Consumption of alcohol, in and of itself, does not relieve an individual initiating sexual activity of the responsibility to obtain ongoing consent.

4) Silence—without clear actions demonstrating permission—cannot be assumed to indicate consent.

5) In addition, persons under the age of 16 and persons who have a physical and/or mental impairment are unable to give consent.

(Emphasis mine.) I would interpret this policy to mean that amputees cannot consent to sex, even if they are perfectly healthy otherwise. This is an absurd—and frankly, insulting—restriction of the rights of the mildly disabled.

As it turns out, the wording was a mistake. The Washington Examiner's Ashe Schow asked Armstrong administrators about the policy, and they said an error had been made:

When asked to clarify the policy, Armstrong's Title IX coordinator Deidra Dennie told the Washington Examiner that the policy currently posted on the website was missing words and would be fixed shortly.

"Unfortunately the policy you have was corrected but not re-posted to our website. The words 'that inhibit' were added to clarify this specific definition," Dennie said. "I apologize that our website was not kept up to date with the actual policy in circulation."

She also indicated that Armstrong was in the process of approving a new code of conduct — including its sexual misconduct policy — that would include a more detailed definition of consent for the coming school year.

It appears the university was unaware that its stated policy — in effect since September 8, 2014 — suggested physically disabled students could not consent to sexual activities.

There's plenty to dislike in the rest of the policy—which assumes that sexual encounters always have an initiating party—but at least the most insane provision was unintentional.

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  1. persons who have a physical and/or mental impairment are unable to give consent.

    “Are you pulling my remaining leg?”

  2. No one can adequately “consent.” That is the point of these policies. Anyone having sex can be prosecuted at any time.

    1. Some day, somewhere, there will be a university policy that stipulates that sexual activity can only happen in the presence of a notary and a stenographer.

      There’s a place for us,
      A time and place for us.
      Give me your written consent to hold my hand and we’re halfway there.
      Give me your written consent to hold my hand and I’ll take you there
      Somehow,
      Some day,
      Somewhere!

      1. Note to self, get notary license and learn stenography

    2. Anyone hetero male having sex can be prosecuted at any time.

  3. And I was looking forward to seeing a case of a college girl who had consensual sex with a dude recovering from ACL surgery get prosecuted.

    1. “*This* is a LIGAMENT!”

  4. In addition, persons under the age of 16 and persons who have a physical and/or mental impairment are unable to give consent.
    And
    The words ‘that inhibit’ were added to clarify this specific definition.”

    So, “persons that inhibit who have a physical and/or mental impairment are unable to give consent”?

  5. does not relieve an individual initiating sexual activity of the responsibility to obtain ongoing consent.

    Once consent is established, it should be assumed to exist unless a clear objection is made. This is the loophole thru which all sorts of charges will be made.

    1. You seem to think that women can be equals to men. Poppycock! These fragile daises must be protected from the savage beast of men’s desires.

      Why, one look from the Svengali eyes of any lustful man and their ability to resist evaporates.

  6. Silence?without clear actions demonstrating permission?cannot be assumed to indicate consent.

    “What could be a clearer demonstration than those pouting breasts, Your Honor?”

    1. So…none for mutes?

  7. 4) Silence?without clear actions demonstrating permission?cannot be assumed to indicate consent.

    Oh I beg to differ

    1. It’s different when it’s the state doing the fucking.

  8. How does a STATE school have the authority to restrict a citizen more than STATE law currently does?

    This bullshit is out of control. It is not the job of a university to legislate.

    A state school’s “policy”, should be “obey the law”. PERIOD!

  9. Mistake, or testing the waters for eugenics?

    1. Can’t be too sure with these asshats. However, this should be ample grounds for a lawsuit from the disabled advocacy branch of SJ.

  10. Hanlon’s razor clearly applies to these universities’ actions, but the growing Machiavellian nightmare being so carefully cultivated leaves me unconvinced.

  11. “Oh, baby, it’s so good, I’m still consenting. Wait, I just came. My consent is now withdrawn. Please do the same.”

    1. “Please sign here, initial here, here, here, here, here, and here. Sign here. Good. Now that you have my consent, you may thrust once. Uh! OK, now please sign here, initial here, here, here, here…”

      1. So the goal is to reduce the human population. I suppose next up will be killing nonparty members at age 30.

      2. Robosexuality is sounding better and better.

  12. “2) Consent to one form of sexual activity should not, and cannot, be taken as consent to any other sexual activity.”

    It’s 2015, and anal is off the menu again.

    1. I don’t care to visit your restaurant.

  13. The main embarrassment here is that a grammatical error from some no-name university has led to Reason publishing an article on it solely because it is another anecdote that feeds into the narrative about college and political correctness.

    I’m sorry, but the stupid rules that colleges have are not much more than stupid rules. Being sent to prison for a false accusation is terrible, but the standards for that are much higher.

    Being kicked out of college for a false accusation is still highly infrequent, and the consequences are not worthy of being treated like a human rights violation.

    This is all mainly an issue because it affects middle-class and wealthy males, who are apparently terrified of being falsely accused. I am this demographic, and I don’t understand the crippling fear some people feel. I’d hate falsely being accused of any crime, but there are people sitting in prison for life for non-violent drug convictions and we have influential writers blowing up the opinion pages because of college guidelines and procedures. It is ridiculous.

    1. It’s a government entity depriving a citizen of rights without adequate due process, particularly considering when other government entities are specifically empowered to provide that due process, both criminally and civilly. Note, too, that they don’t do this quietly, so there’s a real question as to whether they’re defaming the accused. That’s normally not an issue in courts or proper administrative settings, but this is neither.

      1. Referring to actually taking action on these things, of course. The rule itself is facially invalid and discriminatory.

      2. This one has a distinct tulpa aura about it.

      3. Do we have a right to attend college now? It seems to me like if that is the case, this is even more of an elitist issue to cover. Why are we doing about the vast swath of the population that is being deprived of their right to attend, either via overly burdensome costs or lack of access?

        In regards to defamation, that is not something I am convinced is widespread either. By definition, publicly accusing someone of something is in itself defamation. If that is the case, well then we are back looking at the massively elitist nature of this problem. It doesn’t take long to find records and mug shots pf the accused, for all sorts of crime.

        1. If nothing else, a student kicked out of school has been deprived of something he has purchased. I doubt a refund comes with his expulsion. It’s not about a “right” to be educated, though I will note that it is illegal for the government to discriminate and to skip due process.

          1. I think it would be wise to assume that in the contracts students sign with universities, freely, there are clauses which delineate the reasons for which their access to university programs can be rescinded without reimbursement.

            The libertarian view would be that if a university freely contracts with an individual, and they accept the clauses, then they have accepted the consequences that come with it.

            The strongest counterpoint is regarding how public universities handle these issues, but if we are not considering college a natural right then the counterpoint ascends to a criticism on government’s involvement in college.

            1. I have fucking seen everything. A self proclaimed libertarian claiming that “yes means yes” polocies are ok.

              I mean really, you put this all on the back of there’s a contract? When someone is employed, even in an at will state where they could be fired without cause, that still doesn’t allow the firing employer the right to run out and shout “this guy we fired is a rapist”. They’d be sued and lose on definition grounds every day of the week, assuming there did not exist an actual rape conviction. This is what these universities are trying to pull here.

              It sure as hell violates civil liberties. It sure as hell is twisted, evil, and wrong.

    2. You hear that everybody? As long as the Drug War continues, we can’t cover any other injustices. Feiel declares it so.

      1. How has this injustice been ‘covered’, exactly? By printing witless anecdotes of poorly thought-out flyers and handbooks for student conduct. It is a prime example of narrative-driven reporting.

        Having attended college recently at a major public university, I can promise you that day-to-day life on college campuses is at most slightly inconvenienced by all the supposed political correctness supposedly engulfing higher education. I can promise you that I never knew a person falsely accused of sexual assault.

        If all we care about are anecdotes, is my story enough to convince you?

        Ask yourself, how do we benefit when a crime wave is falsely hyped without any actual evidence? It is the same dynamic here.

        1. Having been a member of the middle class, I can promise you that day-to-day life of most people is at most slightly inconvenienced by all the supposed war on drugs supposedly engulfing society. I can promise you that I never knew a person falsely accused of drug possession.

          FIFY

          1. So long as injustice doesn’t affect me, personally, it’s okay.

            1. I feel the same way, it must be my inner libertarian showing.

          2. How are you comfortable ignoring the facts that the aggressive prosecution of individuals, particularly minorities, for non-violent drug crimes leads to poor outcomes in life for those individuals, their families, and communities, and thus by extension yourself?

            At the very least, it should be easy to recognize the fact that over-zealously criminalizing people and restricting their ability to atone for their sins against society (see: background checks and employment) reduces overall growth by restricting those individuals from achieving the opportunity and ability to produce at their maximum potential. Lower growth unquestionably effects you and your family.

            As clarification, I am criticizing the injustice that we dish out to people convicted of crimes, measured against their crime.

            1. whooooosh……

        2. So you think that all of these revamped sexual harassment/assault policies are a myth? Is the Dear Colleague letter a myth as well? What about the lawsuits from expelled students working their way through the system?

          Ask yourself, how do we benefit when a crime wave is falsely hyped without any actual evidence? It is the same dynamic here.

          No it isn’t. But if it was, the worst that might happen in response is that the Office of Civil Rights and colleges would have to back off from pushing these blatantly unfair policies, and instead give accused students a fair hearing.

    3. Grammatical? How does one accidentally add the words “physical and/or” to a statement? I could understand words’ accidentally being left off, but added?

      1. I don’t know, but I also don’t know why I should care about this story.

        1. Why care about anything? We all are just going to die eventually anyway.

          1. & eventually, the ice ball.

          2. I guess that depends on if you believe life itself produces intrinsic value.

      2. I figured out a way it might’ve happened accidentally: Someone copied & pasted from a statement elsewhere about disabilities policy.

    4. This shit is just a trial run, they’re already putting together laws to try and pass to do the same thing in reality.

    5. Feiel, if you’re not terrified of being falsely accused of a crime, you are an idiot.

  14. Seems pretty cruel to the mentally disabled too. That is certainly a more tricky situation than physical disability, but it seems to me that retarded people probably want to have sex too.

      1. That and cake. He really fucking loves cake.

        1. So, tell me, can I no longer say, “Dad is great, he gave us the chocolate cake?”

          1. ProLib this is a safe space (that is monitored for thoughtcrimes by federal authorities). You can say whatever you like about your childhood without resorting to what I can only assume is a euphemism for some unspeakable sexual perversion.

            1. It makes me sad that you are not familiar with that song. It makes Fat Albert sad, too, hey, hey, hey.

              1. Ok, after googling I see it’s just a song performed by a serial rapist. Sorry I assumed you were some kind of sicko pervert.

                1. That was my question, dummy. You’re worse than Episiarch. Worse than Nikki.

                  1. Everyone seems to be making a point of telling me how awful I am lately. I must be doing something right.

                    1. It’s not awful in the old sense, i.e., “inspiring reverential wonder,” but in the current sense, as the O.E.D. relates, of “sucking ass.”

    1. And they don’t quantify or qualify the disability. What IQ is mentally disabled? What about autism, severe and not severe? What about ADHD? What about mild phobias? What about mild neuroses? What about severe headaches?

      Ditto for physical. Oops, sorry, got a paper cut, can’t consent to sex.

    2. yeah i have an autistic friend who was dating another autistic girl for a couple years and they DEFINITELY did it (without my consent)

  15. amputees cannot consent to sex

    Dear Penthouse Letters:

    I always thought that you made your letters up, but I had to write and tell you what happened to me…

    1. I attend a small southern university and was walking back to my dorm one evening when this convertible Mustang full of cheerleaders pulls up next to me…

        1. If that’s how you want to continue the story, feel free. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. You can even marry one (or all of them) if you want.

          1. choose your own adventure porn!

      1. Cheerleader amputees.

    2. but I had to write and tell you dictate what happened to me…

  16. It mayhave been unintentional, but it is the expwcted result of trying to write perfect rules to cover evety situation. You cannot get simple to undetstand and precise language (which gets impenetrable) to cover evety possible situation..

    1. Pace yourself, brah, that last tequila shot with lunch was a mistake, no matter how well it paired with those tacos.

  17. She couldn’t walk when I was done.

    Is that the one in the wheelchair?

    *NSFW since fake naked bodysuits*
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgI5Rx41Sbw

  18. A list of those that can’t provide consent, in any context, ever, in any way. All of these groups need the protection of the benign hand of government:
    -Paraplegics
    -Quadriplegics
    -Autistics
    -Aspies
    -Women
    -Poor minorities
    -Amputees
    -Dwarves
    -The blind
    -The deaf
    -The transgendered
    -Twinks
    -Nerds
    -The acne-prone
    -….

    who else?

    (I watched that show on TLC about that transgendered teen last night. Well, about 10 minutes of it. It is so incredibly, deadly boring. It’s a fucking middle class family with 4 teenagers growing up in a non-descript spec house suburb. Holy fuck.)

  19. “sexual encounters always have an initiating party”

    Yes! And I used to DJ that party

    1. sexual encounters always have an initiating party

      Bullshit. Many sexual encounters occur between people who have both, independently and in effect simultaneously, decided they want to have sex with the other. Its generally not “I wanna fuck you” on the one hand, and “Umm, sure, I never thought about it, but I guess” on the other.

  20. Well women are unable to consent and being a woman is a disability so….

  21. the who, what, where, when, why, or how of a sexual interaction

    Wait, sex has a “why”?

    For that matter, sex has a “what”?

    Unless you are into sex toys, doesn’t who, where, when, and how pretty much cover it?

    1. Nope. If she’s lying about being on the pill to get knocked up, and you just want to have fun, she raped you.

    2. well the why is cuz people who enjoyed fucking obviously out competed those who didnt

  22. the university was unaware that its stated policy ? in effect since September 8, 2014 ? suggested physically disabled students could not consent to sexual activities.

    In no sense can the university be “unaware” of what its own policies say.

    And the policy did not “suggest” that physically disabled students can’t give consent. It says it very clearly, explicitly, and unambiguously.

    Don’t let this kind of weasel-word bullshit go unchallenged, for crying out loud. The only truthful thing you can say is that the university adopted a policy that no person with a physical impairment can give valid consent to sex.

    1. someone up the thread mentioned “hanlon’s razor”, which i had to look up, but from wikipedia “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

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