The Pryor Times

Community News Network

April 29, 2014

White House report calls for campus violence surveys by 2016

LOS ANGELES — A White House task force called for U.S. colleges to conduct mandatory surveys to reveal the frequency of sexual assault on their campuses and student attitudes toward such misconduct.

The Obama administration will provide colleges with sample questions and other materials to develop the surveys, according to a report released late Monday by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. Officials will seek ways to require all colleges to conduct sexual-assault surveys by 2016, the report said.

College students across the country have formed campus groups and filed federal complaints, saying that their schools, law enforcement officials and government agencies aren't responding effectively to sexual misconduct. Members of the task force, formed by President Barack Obama in January, met with more than 2,000 people to understand the problem and begin developing recommendations, senior administration officials said Monday in a teleconference with reporters.

"We are here to tell sexual-assault survivors that they are not alone," the task force said in the report. "And we're also here to help schools live up to their obligation to protect students from sexual violence."

One in five women will be sexually assaulted during her college years, and men are also sometimes victims of sexual aggression, according to the report. Still, the extent of the campus problem and how schools respond to it remains poorly understood, and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and a former prosecutor, has begun surveying hundreds of schools on their policies and practices.

"Everybody needs to be all-in on this fight," McCaskill, who plans to hold hearings on campus sexual assault later this year, said in an e-mailed statement. "I look forward to working closely with the White House on legislation to better protect our students and ensure perpetrators aren't getting a free pass."

Dozens of schools have been hit with student complaints that their schools have violated Title IX, the law that bars gender discrimination in education, by failing to prevent and respond to campus sexual violence and harassment. The Education Department will provide new guidance to clarify its rules, and institute time limits for forming agreements with schools accused of violations, the task force said in the report.

Students need more information about how to protect themselves and whether their schools are under investigation for violations of Title IX, according to the report. The administration will create a new website, NotAlone.gov, that will provide such data and help students who have been assaulted find services, the task force said.

"We want to hold the Education Department accountable without harming investigations or risking the safety of students," said Annie Clark, a former University of North Carolina undergraduate who helped build a network of college students raising awareness and activism on sexual assault.

The administration also is issuing new guidance intended to give more options to students who want to seek services for sexual assault without filing a report that would trigger an investigation, the task force said. Many colleges have designated most or all of their personnel who respond to sexual assault as mandatory reporters, to ensure that victims' cases are dealt with.

Schools should ensure that there are some staff who assault victims can speak with confidentially and "make it clear, up front, who on campus can maintain a victim's confidence and who can't - so a victim can make informed decisions about where best to turn," the task force said.

It urged schools to use sexual-assault prevention programs that enlist bystanders, both men and women, to recognize situations where women may be vulnerable to sexual assault and personally intervene. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be featured in public service announcements pointing out that having sex with someone who doesn't consent to it is a crime, the task force said.

"Colleges and universities need to face the facts about sexual assault," Biden said in a statement. "No more turning a blind eye or pretending it doesn't exist."

This year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Education and Justice departments will form a panel of experts to identify more prevention practices, according to the report. The Justice Department's Office on Violence Against Women also is funding the development of prevention programs, the report said.

The administration will provide a number of tools to help schools understand their obligations and promote proven techniques, the task force said. The Justice Department will develop a training program for campus investigators by September, and the Education Department will provide information for those dealing with traumatized assault victims by December, according to the report.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • Has the ipad lost its swag?

    July 24, 2014