Senator Gillibrand Announces New Legislation
7/30/2014 (Updated 10:49:13 PM)It's called the Campus Safety and Accountability Act, and the 8 Senators in charge of co-sponsoring this legislation say colleges need to be held accountable for the large numbers of sexual assault that happen on university campuses.
"Right now 1 in 5 college students are being raped during their college career--it should not be the price of a college education to be raped and sexually assaulted," said Senator Gillibrand.
The legislation will include many provisions, including new training standards for on campus personnel, and a new anonymous yearly survey that will be published online--so that parents and prospective students can make college choices with these responses in mind. Schools who don't comply with certain requirements under the bill may also face a penalty of up to 1% of the institution's operating budget.
Officials locally at Binghamton University say they have many systems already in place to fight sexual assault on campus, but they can't claim to have solved the problem--and welcome Senator Gillibrand's efforts.
"We'd like to create an environment certainly where they don't happen in the first place but when there are instances of sexual violence or interpersonal violence we want students to feel comfortable that they can report them and that in reporting them that they'll receive the confidential and supportive response," said Vice President of Student Affairs Brian Rose.
All schools under this legislation will be required to use one uniform process for campus disciplinary proceedings as well, and will no longer allow athletic departments or any other subgroups to handle sexual violence cases.
Students on campus at BU say they hope this new law will help students feel as safe as they do on their campus.
"I'm on the dance team and we have practices late at night from like 9-12 so I actually end up going to the library after I walk to and from the library all the time...I live in mountain view apartments...it's about a ten minute walk and i've never felt safer," said Anjali Pillai.
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