Bipartisan Senators Demand 3 Campus Sex-Assault Reforms, And Here's What They Are
In an unexpected act of bipartisanship, Republican and Democrat senators have signed a letter outlining three campus sexual assault reforms for the White House task force that's tackling sexual assault on college campuses. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who drafted the letter, had her office release it to the public out on Monday. On Tuesday, the task force is set to respond.
The three recommendations that the bipartisan letter made for the task force were:
1. Annual, Anonymous Surveys On Campus Sexual Assault
Because sexual assault is such an underreported crime, the senators argue that universities currently have a disincentive to increase reporting. By requiring universities to carry out a yearly survey asking about sexual assault, universities may then have an incentive to address sexual violence and have students report.
2. Appoint One Person To Oversee National Policy On Sexual Misconduct In Higher Education
Currently, the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid office is in charge of overseeing policy on campus sexual violence. In this particular recommendation, the senators ask the task force to make the department create an office to specifically oversee issues of sexual violence and misconduct in colleges and universities.
3. Better Disclosure of Federal Investigations Over Campus Failures To Respond To Sexual Violence
At the moment, prospective college and university students may not be aware of the federal investigations that an institution maybe be facing. By providing them this information in an easily searchable way, college students of the future will have better information on which to base their college decision. The senators specifically ask the Department of Education to create a user-friendly database that includes both pending and resolved violations and complaints against an institution for the Clery Act and Title IX, which both relate to disclosure on instances sexual violence and gender-based harassment. The senators also recommended that the database's information be used to create a "Campus Safety Metric."
The bipartisan letter included signatures from the following Republicans: Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada and Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa. The following Democrats also signed the letter: Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.
Sen. Gillibrand sent out the following Tweets to announce the bipartisan letter to her followers:
We're looking forward to seeing how the White House task force responds to these recommendations. Beyond this particular letter, Sen. Gillibrand and other members of Congress are also working on military sexual assault legislation, and on solving the awful backlog of untested rape kits.