Regulatory Overview: Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Assault
While some wonder if universities should be handling sexual assault issues, the law is clear that schools must have policies, enforce policies, be transparent in communication, and be in compliance with regulations that include being proactive in addressing topics related to sexual misconduct.
There are a number of regulations and laws that guide and inform universities in handling sexually-based offenses. Here is a brief review:
The Higher Education Act of 1965 authorized federal funds for students in higher education and is routinely re-authorized or amended. (http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html)
In 1972, Title IX was enacted and states “No person, in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial aid assistance.” (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/tix_dis.html)
In 1997 and 2001, further clarifications were published by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/shguide.html)
In 2011, the Office of Civil Rights published a “Dear Colleague Letter,” further outlining requirements for institutions in higher education. (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201104.html)
In May of 2016, the Office of Civil Rights published a “Dear Colleague Letter,” stating that the prohibition of sex discrimination encompasses discrimination based on gender identity and transgender status. (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201605-title-ix-transgender.pdf)
Reporting and Education
The Clery Act of 1990 (https://clerycenter.org/policy-resources/the-clery-act/) required campuses to disclose campus crimes in an effort to inform prospective students and parents of potential campus safety issues.
In 1992 the law was amended to include a bill of rights for sexual assault victims.
In 1994 the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed and further clarified institutional responsibilities related to acquaintance rape, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. (http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Documents/VAWA-Section304.pdf)
In 2013 the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act increased university responsibilities related to awareness and prevention. (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s128/summary)
In June of 2017, Texas Senate Bill 968 was enacted and relates to a sexual assault policy and providing an option to electronically report certain offenses to the institution, including anonymous reporting.
|Frequently Asked Questions
|Faculty Information Update on Violence Against Women (VAW)
|Resources for Faculty
|Disrupting Disruptive Behavior
|Warning Signs of an Abusive Person
Violence Against Women Act, Clery Act, & Title IX