More Federal Concern on Sexual Violence on Campus

April 22, 2014

U.S. Department of Justice officials will visit about a dozen colleges this week and next to speak with administrators, police, students and others “about how best practices and lessons learned are plying out in areas such as prevention, public awareness and peer support,” the office announced Monday. The 11 colleges are recipients of the DOJ Office on Violence Against Women’s grant program “to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking on Campus.” The grant money is used for prevention programming and training, education, and creating “a coordinate community response to enhance victim assistance and safety while holding offenders accountable.”

The 11-campus tour starts Wednesday at North Carolina Central University and ends May 1 at California State Polytechnic University. Also next week, Obama administration officials are expected to comment publicly on the findings of a task force charged with recommending ways to better handle sexual violence on campuses. The report should provide a glimpse into forthcoming federal legislation.

Also on Monday, the office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) released a letter that she and a handful of lawmakers (from both sides of the aisle) sent last week to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The senators suggest requiring that colleges conduct annual, anonymous surveys about sexual violence; that the U.S. Education Department appoint one person to oversee all national policy on sexual misconduct on campuses; and that the department’s Office for Civil Rights be more transparent about ongoing campus investigations by issuing updates and creating a searchable database.

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