5 Takeaways from the White House Report on Campus Sexual Assault
April 29, 2014
The spotlight is heating up when it comes to ending campus sexual assault. As we explained in March, new laws, increased enforcement, and additional media coverage have helped turn the attention of policymakers, school administrators, and students toward the steps that are needed to improve campus climates. Here at AAUW, we couldn’t be more pleased. It’s well past the time for schools to take action when it comes to ending violence on campus, and we know that the Obama administration can do more to help make this happen.
That’s why it’s excellent news that today the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault released its first report and set of recommendations. Many of the recommendations reflect AAUW’s priorities and requests, which we shared during meetings and listening sessions over the past several months. Here are five important takeaways from today’s report.
1. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights will issue a helpful FAQ document to guide schools on how to effectively follow Title IX — including reaffirming that the VAWA Amendments to the Clery Act do not in any way alter or weaken a school’s obligations under Title IX.
2. The Obama administration has created the website NotAlone.gov to compile previously scattered best-practice resources, information, and enforcement tools in one easy-to-use location. This new site has the potential to be a game changer when it comes to transparency and awareness. You can find information about filing a complaint, services for survivors, prevention programming, and current enforcement activities all in one place.
3. For the first time, the Department of Education will collect and disseminate the names and contact information of all Title IX coordinators. Colleges and universities must appoint someone to head up their Title IX compliance, but until now that information had not been easy to find. AAUW members have been working to develop local lists of Title IX coordinators, so we are especially gratified to see this happen on a broader scale.
4. As AAUW’s research report Drawing the Line: Sexual Harassment on Campus identified, surveying students about the campus climate is invaluable to addressing violence. The task force’s report puts in place a plan to expand these surveys to more schools while working to develop a model survey.
5. Colleges and universities will have access to model reporting and confidentiality protocols, a checklist for school policies, and model memoranda of understanding for working with community partners and local law enforcement.
Stay tuned to our blog, Twitter, and Facebook accounts for updates as these recommendations are implemented.