New United States Senate Bill Looks to Curb Sexual Assault on College Campuses

New legislation, entitled the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, has been introduced in the United States Senate. The bill calls for colleges and universities to anonymously survey their students on sexual assaults and report the findings publicly. The published survey would allow prospective students and their parents to compare schools regarding the safety of their campuses in regards to sexual assault.

The bill also requires colleges and universities to provide confidential advisers to help victims report their crimes and seek services. And the proposed law requires “colleges and universities to enter into memoranda of understanding with all applicable local law enforcement agencies to clearly delineate responsibilities and share information so that when a crime occurs, both campus authorities and local authorities can focus on solving the crime rather than debating jurisdiction.”

Colleges and universities that fail to comply with the new requirements could face fines of up to 1 percent of their total operating budgets. Schools that neglect to publicize incidents of sexual assault under the federal Cleary Act would face fines of up to $150,000 per unreported incident. This is an increase from $35,000.

The bipartisan legislation has the following initial co-sponsors: Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Claire_McCaskill,“This bill represents a rare thing in Washington—a truly collaborative, bipartisan effort—and that bodes well for our shared fight to turn the tide against sexual violence on our campuses,” Senator McCaskill said. “To curb these crimes, students need to be protected and empowered, and institutions must provide the highest level of responsiveness in helping hold perpetrators fully accountable. That’s what our legislation aims to accomplish.”

Filed Under: NewsSexual Assault/Harassment

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