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Campus Sexual Assault

The cost of a college education should never include the risk of sexual assault

The Problem

Each year, tens of thousands of women who attend college in the U.S. become survivors of sexual assault, yet colleges and universities lack any real incentive to investigate these incidents or comply with federal reporting standards. Under Title IX, colleges and universities have a legal obligation to provide an environment that is free from sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence; and the federal Clery Act requires disclosure of crime statistics to the federal government. However, due to little enforcement, it’s become commonplace for colleges and universities to under-report the cases of sexual assaults that occur on their campuses and ignore the problem. According to Senator Claire McCaskill’s 2014 survey, merely 59 percent of the colleges polled had initiated a sexual assault investigation in the last five years. That means 4 out of 10 schools claim they have had zero sexual assaults reported on their campus, which strains credibility. In the instances where a survivor does go through a disciplinary process, it is often done in a haphazard, unprofessional manner with untrained personnel and/or students being asked to consider serious accusations without the proper training. This process is unfair to both the accuser and the accused. The system is broken and we must fix it.

The Solution

A bipartisan coalition of Senators have introduced legislation to flip the incentives so that colleges and universities will protect students. The Campus Accountability and Safety Act (S.590/H.R.1310) will reform the way colleges and universities report and address cases of sexual assault so that survivors and the accused are treated fairly, students and staff understand their rights and responsibilities, and students and parents have access to new campus safety data. The legislation will:

Increase Support Services to Empower Survivors
Improve Training for Campus Personnel
Standardize Disciplinary Proceedings Across Campuses – No more letting the athletic department handle charges against athletes
Require Schools to be More Transparent & Require all Schools to Administer a Confidential Survey with the Results Published Online
Hold Colleges and Universities Accountable for Addressing and Reporting Assault Cases
Require Better Coordination With Local Law Enforcement

Just look at the statistics

  • In 2014 alone, colleges & universities reported nearly 6,700 forcible sex offenses to the U.S. Department of Education
  • 41% of schools surveyed have not conducted an investigation of a sexual assault complaint in the last five years
  • Only between 13 and 30% of students found “responsible” for sexual assault were permanently kicked off campus.
  • 178 colleges and universities are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights for potential violations of federal law over the handling of sexual assault complaints
  • Just 20% of completed and attempted sexual assaults of college students are reported to law enforcement
  • Between 75% and 90% of sexual assault survivors are victimized by someone they know

Join the movement begun by student survivor activists all over the country to combat campus sexual assault. Support the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (S.590/H.R.1310)

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