The Safe Campus and Fair Campus Acts are bad for survivors, and we oppose both bills.
October 13, 2015
The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence asks you to join us in telling Congress that we won't accept legislation designed to roll back critical protections for survivors on campus! We are circulating a sign on letter, also pasted below, that tells all members of Congress why we won't accept legislation that rolls back protections for young survivors. To sign your local, state, or national organization onto this letter, go to this link. The deadline to sign on is Friday, October 16.
Both the Safe Campus Act of 2015 (H.R. 3403) and the Fair Campus Act of 2015 (H.R. 3408) threaten to undermine the protections of Title IX and the critical progress policy makers, universities, advocates, students and survivors are making to end the scourge of sexual assault on campus. While claiming to support a more fair process, the Safe Campus Act conflates the roles of colleges and universities and the criminal justice system in responding to campus sexual violence. Requiring schools to wait until law enforcement acts, even if only at the behest of the survivor, ignores the actions schools can and must take to combat sexual violence. Current laws such as Title IX require schools to respond to campus sexual assault because students' civil rights are on the line. But, schools also have a role in addressing sexual harassment and violence on campus because they are best equipped to provide interim measures and accommodations. Accommodations such as class schedule or housing changes are necessary to survivors’ ability to complete their education.
We completely reject the argument that only one system in our nation should be held accountable for keeping young people safe from sexual violence. We all want a robust criminal justice response to rape, but all systems where our young people learn and grow and live –communities of faith, neighborhoods, the military, schools, and institutions of higher learning—must address this tragic problem that traumatizes so many.
In addition, both the Safe Campus Act and the Fair Campus Act would require changes to schools’ disciplinary processes that would be overly onerous when incidents of sexual violence occur. We oppose these provisions, which would allow institutions to determine their own burden of proof and allow offenders and offenders' attorneys unfettered and inappropriate access to questioning survivors and to information about survivors. We additionally oppose provisions in both bills that prevent institutions from acting quickly to sanction student groups that engage in discriminatory and abusive behavior.
Sign your organization onto this letter today by visiting this link, and join us in telling Congress that we expect them to uphold Title IX to protect survivors of sexual violence. You can also tweet using the hash tag #UnsafeCampusAct.