Joan Hoff is currently a research professor of history at Montana State University. She is a former president of the Center for the Study of the Presidency, a former executive director of the OAH, and a former director of the Contemporary History Institute at Ohio University. An occasional media commentator on the presidency, she is the author of A Faustian Foreign Policy from Woodrow Wilson to George W. Bush (2007), The Cooper's Wife is Missing: The Trials of Bridget Cleary (2000), Nixon Reconsidered (1994), Law, Gender, and Injustice: A Legal History of U.S. Women (2nd edition, 1994), and Herbert Hoover: Forgotten Progressive (reissued, 1992), among other works.
Back in September, 2014, Gloria Steinem and Michael Kimmel wrote a NYT oped saying that “‘Yes Is Better than ‘No’” when it comes to countering sexual assault on college campuses. This “yes means yes” law is now being touted as the best way to prevent campus rapes. In this talk I question whether this is true, especially since on October 15, 2016, a group of Harvard law professors claimed that the University’s new active sexual consent procedures to be enforced by campus tribunals were slanted in favor of alleged victims and therefore could violate the civil rights of male students. At the same, time rape cases at Columbia and Stanford did not honor the civil rights of female rape victims. Most schools have yet to question civil rights fairness when they enforce their compulsory affirmative consent policies based on “yes means yes.” City or county or state police should be immediately contacted in rape cases so that at least those could be dealt with in courts of law, as inadequate as that legal system has proven in Florida and Montana when football quarterbacks are charged with rape. Civil rights are the prerogative of the courts, not quasi-juridical campus tribunals.