On April 14, Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced legislation to broaden the array of relationship and sexual crimes that colleges must report to the federal government under the Clery Act.
Under the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (S.834), colleges that receive federal funding would now have to report not only instances of sexual assault, but also domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, as well as the procedures it follows in the case of each offense. The bill also outlines new requirements for sexual violence education, including so-called “bystander training,” and notification of a victim’s right to seek law enforcement or court action.
“I think that this legislation does a great thing in that it allows those of us on campus to continue the conversations that we’ve already been having around how we can best support survivors, in addition to allowing for more outreach to the campus community,”
Jane Jen Luettel Schweer, sexual assault services coordinator for University Health Education Services, wrote in an e-mail.
“The part of this legislation that highlights intimate partner violence is important, because it’s an issue that we know is occurring on campus, but many people aren’t sure of how to define relationship violence, or how to assess if their relationship is healthy,” she added.
Others, such as Wendy Kaminer of The Atlantic, have expressed concerns that the legislation also directs University conduct boards to accept a “preponderance of evidence” in assigning guilt for sexual assault rather than the higher standard used by courts of law. This proposed metric is similar to the “more likely than not” standard presently required in the Student Code of Conduct [PDF].