April 7, 2014 — Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on Friday sent a letter to leaders of a Senate subcommittee asking for federal funding to improve and enforce sexual assault policies on college campuses, the Washington Times reports (Klimas, Washington Times, 4/4).
The letter was signed by 10 other senators and sent to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, The Hill's "Defcon Hill" reports (Herb, "Defcon Hill," The Hill, 4/4).
According to the Times, the senators asked for $109 million in federal funding to better ensure that the Department of Education properly investigates sexual assault cases that take place on college campuses. The funding would also enable the department to hire more employees who are specially trained to handle such cases.
McCaskill said she thinks further investigations into how college campuses handle sexual assault cases will find systemic issues, such as low reporting, a lack of resources and minimal protection for accusers.
In a statement, Gillibrand said, "When our young people go on to higher education, it should be an opportunity to learn, grow, pursue their dreams and prepare for their future careers," adding, "But for one in five young women on campuses across America, the college experience becomes their worst nightmare, as victims of sexual assault" (Washington Times, 4/4).