Decision Maker Response

Kirsten Gillibrand’s response

Aug 2, 2014 — Thanks to Know Your IX and The Nation for starting this petition and making your voice heard on behalf of survivors of campus sexual assault. And thanks to all the signers, this is such an important issue and it's important that we let survivors know they're not alone in this fight.

The simple fact is that the cost of college admission should not include a 1 in 5 chance of being sexually assaulted. Nor should going to college make women more likely to be victims of assault, but that's precisely what the data shows. To help combat this epidemic, I've been working with my colleagues to craft commonsense bipartisan legislation to support survivors and hold colleges accountable for how they handle these crimes.

On Wednesday, I was proud to stand alongside survivors, advocates and 7 of my colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats, to introduce the Campus Accountability & Safety Act. This bill will inject transparency and accountability into the adjudication process and flip the incentives so colleges no longer sweep these crimes under the rug.

Our bill would:

- Increase support services for survivors on college campuses
- Improve training for campus personnel
- Increase transparency for colleges, including mandating online reporting of crime statistics
- Increase accountability for colleges, including increased fines for noncompliance with federal law
- Improve coordination with local law enforcement

I agree with you that the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights must have real teeth to be able to hold colleges accountable for how they adjudicate these crimes.That's why we've given the Office for Civil Rights the ability to impose fines of up to 1% of an institution's operating budget for violations of Title IX related to sexual violence. We believe this measure will succeed in increasing transparency and accountability on the part of our colleges and universities while also protecting the students who did nothing wrong from being caught in the crossfire.

These are crucial steps if we are going to end the scourge of campus sexual assault and I'm confident we'll continue to build bipartisan support over the coming months. You can help by making your voice heard during the month of August by asking your representatives to support the Campus Accountability & Safety Act. It's time for all of us, regardless of party, to stand with survivors, hold universities accountable, and make college campuses safe for all students.