Bill Would Require Presidents to Review Misconduct Claims

February 16, 2018

Bipartisan legislation announced Thursday in the U.S. Senate would require college leaders -- and at least one member of the institution's governing board -- to personally review all sexual misconduct claims involving university employees reported within a calendar year.

Colleges and universities would be required to submit annual certification affirming that those reviews had taken place and that top college officials hadn't improperly influenced any ongoing investigations.

The bill is backed by Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, both Michigan Democrats, as well as Senator John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who is the second-highest-ranking GOP senator. Senators said the legislation, dubbed the ALERT Act, was a response to the uncovering of abuses by Larry Nassar, the former Olympics gymnastics doctor and faculty member at Michigan State University, and Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Pennsylvania State University.

“Our colleges and universities must do more to protect the safety of our children, and we must hold them accountable when they fail,” Peters said in a written statement. “Too many young people have suffered appalling harm from abusers who should have been stopped by university officials. I’m introducing this legislation to ensure that ‘I didn’t know’ will never again be an excuse for permitting monstrous abuse to continue under the watch of the officials we trust to look after our children.”​

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