Schools Must Take New Steps to End Violence on Campus

A young woman holds a sign reading "#meaningful #consent" in a protest

Image by Tony Cairns, Flickr Creative Commons

October 20, 2014

After years of hard work, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act is law and its campus safety provisions, sometimes called Campus SaVE, have final regulations requiring colleges and universities to take new steps to end sexual violence. AAUW documented the development of these regulations this spring, a step that provides additional details to help schools implement new laws. The Department of Education recently announced that these regulations are now final.

We’ve mentioned a few of the new provisions, but as a reminder here are some of the things schools must do this year to follow the law:

  1. Report the number of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking incidents that occur on campus every year.
  2. This is in addition to the longstanding requirement to disclose sexual assault incidents, along with other crimes.

  3. Add hate crimes motivated by gender identity bias and national origin bias to their annual statistics.
  4. Update their annual security report to include
    • the institution’s programs (available to all students and employees) to prevent dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
    • the procedures, steps, and time lines that the institutions will follow when one of these crimes is reported;
    • all of the sanctions that the school imposes following these proceedings;
    • and training for all those involved in the proceedings.

  5. Provide clear options and support to students who report an incident of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
  6. Allow students to bring an adviser of their choice to any disciplinary proceeding.

All of this is great news for student safety. But what’s missing? The Department of Education opted not to provide a federal definition of consent for every college and university to use. That means schools can develop their own; we know that more than 800 currently use an affirmative consent definition and that California and New York are implementing similar requirements.

The DOE acknowledged that some of these steps will take time and energy for schools to follow, and it included new resources with the release of the regulations. In addition, continues to provide model policies, programs, and guidance to help schools make improvements on their campuses.

Schools should already be making a “good faith” effort to follow these new provisions. Have you ever checked your school’s annual security report, which explains its compliance? Consider stopping by the website of your alma mater, local college or university, or the school your kids/friends/relatives attend, and type in “annual security report” in the search bar. The report should show up and have been updated on or by October 1. It should include these new statistics and mention the steps the school is taking to comply with the new law. Checking up on institutions is a great way to help implement this strong new law that you helped make a reality!

By:   |   October 20, 2014

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