Bipartisan group of senators call for increased funding, improved enforcement of campus sexual assault laws—
Federal agency responsible for investigation, enforcement has fraction of resources & staff needed
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey joined Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, along with a bipartisan group of their colleagues, are calling for new federal resources to investigate and enforce sexual assault laws on college and university campuses.
“Campus sexual assault is a troubling and pervasive problem on our college campuses. Every year, tens of thousands of women and men who attend college in the U.S. become victims of sexual assault,” wrote the Senators 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… therefore we respectfully request that you provide at least $137.7 million in Fiscal Year 2017 for the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education, the amount requested by the President, to be used in part for the investigation and enforcement of Title IX related to sexual violence. In addition, we request sufficient funding to employ an additional eleven full-time equivalent personnel for the investigation and enforcement of the Clery Act, as requested by the President… it is essential that the U.S. Department of Education has the resources needed to ensure compliance with the federal laws that help protect our students from sexual violence.”
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.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ben 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.).
Senators McCaskill and Gillibrand previously led a bipartisan call for funding to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, & Education leaders in 2014.
Laws covering sexual assault on campus are handled by the U.S. Department of Education, under Title IX and the Jeanne Clery Act, which calls for colleges and universities to report information on crime 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.
Full text of the letter can be found HERE.