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Is ‘non-consensual sex’ the same as rape?

According to Yale’s recent sexual misconduct incident report issued for transgressions occurring between January-June of this year, being found guilty of non-consensual sex will result in just two semesters’ suspension at max, and at the least, a simple letter of reprimand from the university.

Yale officially defines “sexual misconduct” in its conduct code as:

“Any sexual activity for which clear and voluntary consent has not been given in advance; any sexual activity with someone who is incapable of giving valid consent because, for example, she or he is sleeping or otherwise incapacitated due to alcohol or drugs; any act of sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, or stalking. Sexual misconduct includes nonphysical actions such as digital media stalking, cyberbullying, and nonconsensual recording of a sexual nature.”

In a separate section, Yale further discusses sexual misconduct and describes how the school deals with such behavior:

“Sexual misconduct is antithetical to the standards and ideals of our community and will not be tolerated. Yale aims to eradicate sexual misconduct through education, training, clear policies, and serious consequences for violations of these policies.”

The “serious consequences” so far for violating Yale’s sexual misconduct code ranges from suspension to counseling sessions to a simple written reprimand.

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Justice back in 1995, the average sentence for criminals convicted of rape in the United States is 117 months. The average time actually served is 56 months. For crimes of sexual assault, the average sentence is 72 months, and the average time served is 35 months. In the last five years, studies show that these averages are still consistent with conviction data.

Connecticut law classifies fourth-degree sexual assault as either a misdemeanor or a felony, where an individual “subjects another person to sexual contact without such other person’s consent.”

A misdemeanor conviction for sexual assault in Connecticut carries up to a year in prison and a felony conviction could mean up to five years behind bars.

This is also not the first time Yale has been involved in a controversy connected to sex. In 2011, a suit was filed against Yale for “failing to eliminate a hostile sexual environment on campus.” Last summer, the school managed to shut down the investigation by agreeing to some changes in the way the campus handles complaints alleging sexual misconduct.

Many Yale students are showing their disgust by signing an online petition that urges the Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan to come down on colleges that seemingly protect students who break laws.

Excerpts from The Blaze’s article on August 4, 2013 by Mike Opelka were taken to construct the above content, with some information added for context. To read Mr. Opelka’s full article, click here.