National Partnership for Women & Families

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Informal Network Growing To Address, Prevent On-Campus Sexual Assaults

Informal Network Growing To Address, Prevent On-Campus Sexual Assaults

May 1, 2013 — Students, faculty and alumni from about 50 colleges and universities have formed an informal national network with activists to raise awareness about federal laws related to sexual assaults on college campuses, USA Today reports.

The network is growing as pressure rises on college and university administrators to do more to address and prevent sexual misconduct and assaults, as well as institute better processes to respond to complaints.

The network has launched Know Your IX, a national campaign aimed at educating all higher-education students about their rights under Title IX -- the federal civil rights law that bars discrimination in education -- by the start of the fall 2013 semester. To date, more than 300 students, faculty and alumni are involved in the campaign.

According to USA Today, national interest in issues related to on-campus sexual assaults has been gaining momentum since the Department of Education in April 2011 released updated guidelines on how colleges should handle sexual assault allegations. This March, President Obama signed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (S 47), which includes a provision requiring higher education institutions to adopt policies to address and prevent sexual assaults.

Meanwhile, individuals and groups at several institutions have filed complaints citing school officials' lack of actions to inform student bodies about crimes, attempts to dissuade survivors from reporting crimes or failure to substantially punish perpetrators, USA Today reports (Marklein, USA Today, 4/29).