United States: President Urges Schools To Aggressively Combat Sexual Assault
Friday, May 2, 2014 8:25 AM

In the wake of several highly publicized rapes on college campuses and accusations that schools are not doing enough to police sexual crimes committed by students, the White House asked colleges and universities to take urgent action to address sexual assault. The White House issued recommended sexual assualt guidelines for schools in the first report released by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, which President Barrack Obama established in January.

The Task Force report recommends that colleges and universities:  (1) conduct systematic surveys to gauge the prevalence of sexual assault on campus as well as students’ attitudes about and awareness of the issue; (2) promote “bystander intervention,” by encouraging and training male students to step in to help prevent assaults; and (3) implement reporting and confidentiality protocols, enact effective sexual misconduct policies, provide trained victim advocates, and improve the investigation and disciplinary processes. Finally, the Task Force calls on the federal government to make its enforcement efforts more transparent and to provide students and schools with more resources to help bring an end to sexual violence on campuses.

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said that mandatory campus sexual assault surveys were “consistently the No. 1 request of student survivors and advocates.”  The report states that the Task Force “will explore legislative or administrative options to require schools to conduct a survey in 2016.” 

Compiled from:  Steinhauer, Jennifer, White House to Press Colleges to Do More to Combat Rape, The New York Times (April 28, 2014); Not Alone: The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault (April 2014).