U of M student group wants harsher penalties for sexual assault

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The University of Minnesota's student government says the school needs to rethink its policies on sexual assault.

The Minnesota Student Association (MSA) is currently working with school officials to re-evaluate the university's guidelines on sexual consent, as well as discipline for students who are reported for sexual harassment and assault, according to Minnesota Daily.

MSA told the campus paper they've heard from victims who say their perpetrators have seen punishments such as academic probation or having to write an essay. The student group wants the university to set suspension or expulsion as the minimum punishment.

According to U.S. Department of Education data, there were 34 "forcible" on-campus sexual assaults on the U of M's Twin Cities campus between 2011 and 2013, and an additional 27 similar incidents in on-campus student housing during the same time period.

Additional measures

MSA is also pursuing an "affirmative consent" policy under a resolution they passed in December.

The group says such a policy would be similar to California's "Yes Means Yes" law, which was passed in September.

According to USA Today, the law requires universities reviewing sexual assault allegations to determine whether "an affirmative, unambiguous and conscious decision" to have sex was reached by both parties.

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