Every year the white house turns out a slew of legislature, almost all of which relates to the financial circumstances of our great nation. However, this year marked a change in sexual assault policy on college campuses, an issue that has drawn growing concern. On July 30th, 2014, Washington turned out the Campus Safety and Accountability Act to combat the problem. The act requires that colleges post the general results of anonymous surveys conducted on college campuses around the nation. This allows for any interested individual to access the results online and make comparisons between universities.
How will Washington enforce the rules? All universities who do not follow the rules set forth by the act will risk losing 1% of their funding to run the school. This could potentially be a big deal for large public universities that largely depend on federal funding to operate. Imagine having to cut resources in the classroom—books, professors, computers, etc.—all because a school refuses to administer a simple survey! This puts education at risk when universities don’t comply. Hopefully schools across the US recognize the value in focusing on the issue of campus violence.
Then there is the obstacle of how to handle reported cases of sexual violence. This new act requires campuses to provide counselors for those who want to report their cases and get help. It is up to an individual whether or not they choose to use the confidential services, but I believe it is a good idea to provide access to such counselors. They would be an outlet for all the students who may worry about being mocked, punished, or overlooked if they share their stories. As an added incentive, the legislation specifically states that no student can be punished for underage drinking if reporting a sexual assault crime. The hope is to create a safe environment where college campuses can combat the issue at hand in the best way possible.
With statistics like 1 in 5 students falling victim to sexual assault, it is clear that action is needed. I am keeping my fingers crossed as this new legislation is put in place, and I am eager to see its effects.
For more information, please visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/31/us/college-sexual-assault-bill-in-senate.html?_r=0
P.S. Almost every campus or surrounding town offers assistance for those who would like to report a case. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, don’t hesitate to visit campus services to learn how to best handle taking healthy steps to approach each individual case. Ultimately, the final decision is in the hands of the affected individual. Together we can attempt to lower the occurrence of sexual crimes on college campuses, a topic near and dear to my heart.