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N.H. lawmaker files ‘yes means yes’ sex assault bill

CONCORD, N.H. — A lawmaker wants the state’s colleges and universities to adopt ‘‘yes means yes’’ sexual assault policies or risk losing state aid, amid rising concerns over sexual abuse on campuses around the country.

Representative Renny Cushing, a Hampton Democrat, has filed a draft of a bill, modeling his idea on a law recently signed in California. Cushing wants to require schools to adopt sexual assault policies that center on affirmative consent, meaning that both parties must verbally agree to engage in sexual behavior.

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Under the proposed bill, public colleges and universities that do not adopt such policies would lose their state aid, and private colleges would lose their property tax exemptions.

Sexual assault on college campuses has garnered national attention as students and the government demand stricter policies and stronger enforcement. Research has shown that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in college.

In New Hampshire, Dartmouth College is under federal investigation for its handling of sexual assault. The University of New Hampshire has been nationally recognized for its sexual assault prevention policies, which have focused on affirmative consent for years.

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