Campus Sexual Assault



Statistics show that 20 percent of young women and 6 percent of young men will be victims of attempted or actual sexual assault. Under federal law, students are entitled to a safe educational environment free of sexual harassment. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits any college or university receiving federal funding to allow sexual assault or sexual harassment that would inhibit a student’s ability to access their education. The Clery Act requires colleges to report crimes that occur on campus and school safety policies, and to provide a timely warning when there are known risks to public safety.

 

On April 15, 2014, Congresswoman Speier joined students at UC Berkeley who had filed federal complaints about the university’s response to campus sexual assault.

 

Congresswoman Speier believes the Department of Education and the Department of Justice must be more aggressive in holding colleges and universities accountable for violating Title IX and the Clery Act. She sent a bipartisan letter signed by 39 members has called calling for more transparency about investigations and enforcement actions against institutions found deficient in their protections against sexual violence, and asked for the Department of Education to develop policy guidance to support colleges to create prevention and response efforts that include same-sex violence. In April she sent another bipartisan letter to US News and World Report urging them to include campus safety and responses to sexual violence in their annual rankings.

If you are a student or a parent concerned about campus sexual assault and want to learn more, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault has created NotAlone.gov to make enforcement data public and to make other resources accessible to students and schools.

Title IX
What are a school’s responsibilities to address sexual harassment and sexual violence?
Policy Guidance from the Department of Education
Title IX Compliance Reviews and Resolution Agreements
Clery Act
Clery Act reports
Database of campus security reports

 

Title IX - Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. (link)

What are a school’s responsibilities to address sexual harassment and sexual violence? (Department of Education)

  • A school has a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively.  If a school knows or reasonably should know about sexual harassment or sexual violence that creates a hostile environment, the school must take immediate action to eliminate the sexual harassment or sexual violence, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.
  • Even if a student or his or her parent does not want to file a complaint or does not request that the school take any action on the student’s behalf, if a school knows or reasonably should know about possible sexual harassment or sexual violence, it must promptly investigate to determine what occurred and then take appropriate steps to resolve the situation.
  • A criminal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment or sexual violence does not relieve the school of its duty under Title IX to resolve complaints promptly and equitably.
  • Every school must have and distribute a policy against sex discrimination. Schools also must have a Title IX Coordinator and known procedures for students to file complaints of sex discrimination.

Policy Guidance from the Department of Education - In April 2011 the Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague to provide guidance to federally funded colleges and universities. Requirements for compliance include:

  • Designating a Title IX coordinator at each university to direct compliance efforts
  • Completing the investigation in a timely manner
  • Timely action to ensure a complainant-victim can continue his or her education
  • Prohibition against retaliating against the complainant

The Department of Education’s fact sheet on the guidance can be found here and the full guidance is available here. In April 2014 the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights issued a questions and answers document to provide additional guidance to federally funded education institutions about their obligations under Title IX to address sexual violence More information on legal guidance issued to schools can be found here. If you have ideas for how you would like this guidance to be updated, please contact Congresswoman Speier here and include ATTN: Campus Sexual Assault.

Title IX Compliance Reviews and Resolution Agreements:

The website NotAlone.gov features a school-by-school enforcement map about resolved school-level enforcement activities conducted by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, including Title IX resolution agreements addressing sexual violence on campuses from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Clery Act reports from the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office, and Title IX and Title IV resolution agreements and other court filings addressing sexual violence and sexual harassment on campuses from the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. You can also search resolutions and agreements reached on or after October 1, 2013 here.

Clery Act - The Clery Act requires colleges to report crimes that occur on campus and school safety policies, and to provide a timely warning when there are known risks to public safety.

Clery Act reports, can be found by year or school. Below is a list of Clery Act reports on higher education institutions listed alphabetically, with the year or years of the report are in parentheses.

                       

Database of campus security reports

  • Can search by institution here
  • Can aggregate data for a group of campuses here

Downloadable data by year for all institutions receiving federal aid here