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Bill Takes Aim At Curbing Sexual Assaults On Campuses

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Amid troubling reports of cases of sexual violence at colleges and universities, including UConn, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) last month helped craft new, bipartisan legislation to protect and empower victims, while also holding schools accountable.

Thursday morning at Yale University Blumenthal and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) presided over the ninth of 11 roundtable discussions  statewide on the matter. Murphy said a recent study indicated that 40 percent of colleges and universities have not investigated a single sexual assault claim over the last five years.

“That’s a stunning level of just complete ignorance,” said Murphy, who is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee On Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

In January, a report from The White House Council on Women and Girls said one in five women has been sexually assaulted while she’s attending college. Under the proposed Campus Safety and Accountability Act, colleges and universities would be required to designate confidential advisers, who will serve as a resource for student victims of campus assaults.

To encourage individuals to come forward with reports about sexual violence, schools will no longer be allowed to discipline a student who reveals a violation in good faith, such as underage drinking, in the process of reporting a sexual violence claim.

The bill would also increase penalties against schools that don't comply to as much as one percent of the university's operating budget.

Southern Connecticut State University’s Women’s Center, which has been serving the New Haven campus since 1998, has taken a very proactive approach to reaching victims and warning perpetrators. The center is constantly increasing their efforts in the areas of prevention and education, and even engaging male students, who are instructed on proper bystander intervention.

“[Men] can intervene directly, use distraction, delegate,” said Catherine Christy, the director at SCSU Women’s Center. “You make certain they know what it means and men really do want to help.”

Click on the following link to read the details of the Campus Safety and Accountability Act


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