House bill to tackle sexual violence on college campuses

A bi-partisan bill introduced by Representatives Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, and Patrick Meehan, a Republican from Pennsylvania, aims “to toughen federal oversight of how colleges respond to campus sexual violence.”

According to The Washington Post, the legislation “would require colleges to survey their students on sexual violence every two years, increase the maximum penalty (to $100,000, from $35,000) for each violation of a campus-safety law known as the Clery Act…”

In essence, colleges and universities would be heavily fined for failing to properly protect students who claim that their civil rights have been violated due to sexual assault.

An increase in fines would certainly help and is a good starting point, but the heart of the bill lies with its language mandating that the public know more about colleges that are under investigation by the federal government because of sexual violence on campus.

The bill has almost 30 co-sponsors and is being introduced in the right environment. It certainly seems that America has no appetite for sexual violence against young adults, specifically young women.

Because the bill has to make its way through a House filled with conservatives, and it was just filed last week, it may be too early to tell if it will pass or not.

Even so, this bill is needed. Far too many young women feel uneasy and unsafe at school; a place that is supposed to be reserved for learning and safety. Protecting our students should be a top priority for administrators and this country’s lawmakers.

Hopefully we will see positive moment on H.R. 2680 as it makes its way through Congress.

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