The implementation of an affirmative consent law in New York state had Fox News host Megyn Kelly concerned on Tuesday, as she fretted that men are presumed guilty too often in college sexual assault cases.
"It is important to improve the rights of women who are victims of sexual assault on college campuses," she told colleague Brit Hume. "But we are going in a direction where we almost entirely eliminate the rights of men. And there's a presumption now in these campuses, thanks to the Obama administration, of guilt. There's a presumption of non-consent. And if you are a young man who gets accused, it's your burden to go in there and prove consent, and we're getting to the point where you have to have a contract. And if you don't, you're gonna be presumed a rapist."
As CBS News reported, the new law will require students in New York private colleges and universities to ensure there is "clear affirmative agreement" between them if they have sex.
The law also gives students the right to report any incident to either local police or their campus counterparts, and creates a system ensuring accuracy in campus reports of sexual assault to state officials.
But while she supported efforts to reduce sexual assaults on campuses, Kelly also linked the law to advocacy groups like the Affirmative Content Project. (ACP)
Kelly showed a picture of a "Contract Card" the ACP sells on its website, saying it called for students to write down their consent.
While the card encourages students to take a picture with their partners holding it and fill out a form on the back, it also states, "If you decide not to follow steps 1 or 2 -- please take this moment to agree to have consensual sex with each other. YES means YES."
For his part, Hume argued that advocates for affirmative consent "have never had any sex," and described laws like the one in New York part of the "re-regulation of sex," a change from the social mores during his own college days, when universities had strict rules regarding mingling between men and women.
"That was a recognition of the fact that, as you might have put it back then, 'boys will be boys' and guys are pretty lusty," he said. "And you needed to be careful when you got them around young women, particularly if there was parties and alcohol, so the rules were pretty tight."
The sexual revolution, Hume argued, was the precursor to what he called today's "hook-up culture."
"Just take a look at spring break across this country," Kelly added.
"It was the culmination of the de-regulation of sex," Hume responded. "Now what we're seeing is, because people particularly don't like some of the results of that, they're trying to re-regulate it, and that's where we are."
Kelly also criticized the federal Office of Civil Rights' 2011 message to universities stating that they should make sure that due process for the accused in sexual assault cases "do not restrict or unnecessarily delay the protection for the complainant."
"It's all about the complainant. Which, OK, but there are other rights," she said. "And there's a question about whether these universities should be engaged in the business of adjudicating these disputes at all, as we've seen in the Duke case, in that Columbia University case and others. Serious questions attached to them."
Watch the discussion, as posted by Media Matters on Tuesday, below.