Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) Campus Sexual Violence Act (2015)
The Feminist Majority SUPPORTS this bill.
The HALT Campus Sexual Violence Act would would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to strengthen prevention and enforcement efforts to significantly reduce campus sexual violence. An estimated 43 percent of college women report experiencing dating violence or abuse, and 1 in 5 women have experienced a sexual assault or an attempted sexual assault while they are in college. Education institutions receiving federal funding are required by the Clery Act to report certain crime statistics. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of reported forcible sexual assaults on campus has nearly doubled between 2009 and 2014, from 3,264 to 6,016. During this same period, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which enforces Title IX, reports that the number of sexual violence complaints at institutions of higher education increased by more than 1,000 percent. OCR is now investigating over 100 schools for Title IX violations concerning sexual violence.
The increase in the number of complaints to OCR has contributed to severe delays in investigations. The average length of an OCR sexual violence investigation increased from 379 days in 2009 to 1,469 days in 2014.
To help survivors and students hold colleges and universities accountable, and to promote more transparency concerning sexual violence on college campuses, the HALT Campus Sexual Violence Act would:
- Increase funding for Title IX and Clery Act investigators by $5 million;
- Raise penalties for violating the Clery Act from $35,000 to $100,000 per violation;
- Require public disclosure of the list of institutions under investigation, the sanctions imposed (if any) or findings issued after investigation, and a copy of all program reviews and resolution agreements entered into between higher education institutions and the Department of Education & the Department of Justice under Title IX and the Clery Act;
- Institute biennial climate surveys which assess the occurrences of instances of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; the effectiveness of campus policies designed to improve relationships between students; the effectiveness of current processes for complaints on and investigations into harassment, assault, discrimination, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking; and any other issues relating to campus sexual violence;
- Allow students to sue universities for violations of the Clery Act in order to obtain, among other things, compensatory damages;
- Expand institutional requirements so that schools must publicly notify and post students’ legal rights and institutions’ obligations and policies under Title IX. The Comptroller General must then report to Congress, among other things, how institutions are distributing this information, whether students have received and understood this information, and any changes in the numbers of reported incidents of campus sexual violence; and
- Create a Campus Sexual Violence Task Force that would work with institutions, agencies, survivors, and advocacy organizations to develop recommendations to universities for establishing sexual assault prevention and response teams, providing survivor resources, and enhancing investigations.
This bill has not yet been introduced in the Senate.
Chief Sponsor: Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) & Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) plus 27 original cosponsors