US politicians focus on campus sexual violence

April 23, 2014

Several US politicians have turned their attention to the issue of sexual violence on campus, calling for reforms and visiting campuses to gather information on best practices for prevention and raising awareness. In the next few weeks, officials from the US Department of Justice will visit 11 colleges—recipients of the DOJ Office on Violence Against Women’s grant program—to hear how prevention training, education campaigns, and efforts to coordinate responses to reports of sexual violence on campus are working. Similarly, 7 US senators recently called on the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to adopt 3 reforms: designate one employee to coordinate enforcement of the Clery Act (the federal campus-crime-reporting law) and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal gender-equity law; require colleges to conduct an anonymous, standardized survey of sexual assaults; and create a searchable database with information on investigations and enforcement actions under Title IX and the Clery Act. The task force is expected to issue a report with findings and recommendations in the near future. Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education

Postscript: April 30, 2014

The White House on Tuesday released a new set of guidelines intended to combat sexual violence on US campuses. In a report entitled “Not Alone: The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault,” the Obama administration calls on colleges to assess the prevalence of sexual assault on campuses, as well as students’ attitudes toward it; to train campus officials on effective responses to sexual assault; to provide victims with more options to communicate privately with campus officials; and to adapt existing disciplinary policies to comply with directives from the Department of Education. The Department of Education has also issued new policy guidelines around how colleges should conduct disciplinary hearings. A website,, has also been created, to provide resources, data, and documents related to sexual assault. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed | Full Report |