March 30, 2016

Wyden, Senators Push for New Resources to Combat Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Bipartisan group of senators calls for improved enforcement of campus sexual assault laws

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., along with a bipartisan group of their colleagues, are calling for new federal resources to address the troubling and pervasive problem of sexual assault on college and university campuses across the country.

“Every year, tens of thousands of women and men who attend college in the U.S. become victims of sexual assault,” the senators wrote in a letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, & Education. “Campus sexual assault is a crime that threatens students’ physical and emotional health and undermines students’ right to a safe educational environment.”

In the letter, the senators called for more resources for the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education to investigate and enforce Title IX, which is one of the main federal laws covering sexual assault on campus and is handled by the U.S. Department of Education.

They also urged their Senate colleagues to provide enough funding for the Education Department to hire 11 additional full-time staff to investigate and enforce protections under the Jeanne Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to report information about crimes on and around campuses, and provide victims with select rights and resources.

Each year, the Office for Civil Rights handles more than 10,000 complaints against schools over violations of Title IX, but has just half the staff it did in 1980, when the office received a third of the amount of complaints as today.

Also joining the letter are Senators Dean Heller, R-Nev., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Mark Warner, D-Va., Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Cory Booker , D-N.J., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Jack Reed, D-R.I.  

Full text of the letter can be found HERE.