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house Bill H.R. 1490

Requiring Colleges to Provide an Independent Advocate for Survivors of Sexual Assault

Argument in favor

Students deserve to have an advocate when they feel most vulnerable. Sexual assault on college campuses is a national problem that is often mishandled. It’s time to hold schools accountable.

Peter a.'s Opinion
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04/09/2015
Too often school hierarchy becomes more interested in public relations backlash than impact on victims or prevention.
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Miranda 's Opinion
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04/03/2015
It would be beneficial for student to actually have someone on campus trained to deal with sexual assault, instead of lumping those duties on to a random administrative person.
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Steven's Opinion
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01/01/2016
Why not have someone there to help a student after a traumatic experience?
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Argument opposed

Schools aren’t responsible for murder or theft – why should they be for sexual assault? These accusations and cases should be handed and prosecuted by outside law enforcement.

Vivian's Opinion
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05/26/2015
I actually think this should not be a school's responsibility. And to be clear, a mandate putting this independent party on a university's payroll would make it that school's responsibility. Just like public high schools have Student Resource Officers, who are sworn law enforcement officers that are familiar with their individual schools, I think having a similar contact at universities that receive government funding would be better. They would have to be officers with Special Victims training. That way, law enforcement and the student body are the primary concerns, and not school politics. This also demonstrates that sexual assault is taken seriously, because a report to the SRO would be a report to a legal officer of the law. No administrative bureaucracy.
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Mickb's Opinion
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05/13/2015
I will never understand why sexual assault on campus is investigated by campus police and not local law enforcement. They don't need an advocate, they need to know the police will handle the situation and internal school politics won't play a factor in prosecuting the offender.
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Thomas's Opinion
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04/25/2015
That should be the work of our justice system.
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What is House Bill H.R. 1490?

Many institutions of higher education receive funding from the government under the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA). Every few years, the law is amended, and if schools want to continue to get that cash flow, they have to comply with new rules. 


H.R. 5277 — the Survivor Outreach and Support (SOS) Campus Act — if enacted, would be one such amendment. This bill would be require colleges that fall under HEA to hire an independent advocate to assist students who have experienced sexual assault. These advocates would also be responsible for spearheading campaigns to educate about sexual assault prevention.


Something that makes H.R. 5277 unique from it's predecessors is that it requires the advocate to be independent. He or she must represent the needs of the student, even when those needs are in conflict with the interests of the school. The advocate must also ensure that students who have experienced sexual assault have access to:

  • Information on how to report a sexual assault to law enforcement, their rights, and available legal services
  • Medical care and medical forensic examinations
  • Crisis intervention

The advocate may also attend institution-based adjudications at the request of the student.

Impact

College students and faculty, college law enforcement officials, people who want to support survivors of sexual assault, institutions of higher education that receive federal funding, the Federal budget.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1490

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In Depth:

The Studies conducted with data gathered by the White House show that one in five women will experience some form of sexual assault in her college career. According to sponsoring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), offering advocates to those who have experienced sexual assault is absolutely necessary

“Survivors of sexual assault deserve an advocate who will fight for them every step of the way.”

Boxer is not alone. A wide range of organizations and institutions support her bill, including the University of California, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, and the American Association  of University Women. 


Media: 

Sponsoring Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) Press Release



(Photo Credit: Vice News)

AKA

SOS Campus Act

Official Title

To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require institutions of higher education to have an independent advocate for campus sexual assault prevention and response.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
      Higher Education and Workforce Investment
    IntroducedMarch 19th, 2015
    Too often school hierarchy becomes more interested in public relations backlash than impact on victims or prevention.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    I actually think this should not be a school's responsibility. And to be clear, a mandate putting this independent party on a university's payroll would make it that school's responsibility. Just like public high schools have Student Resource Officers, who are sworn law enforcement officers that are familiar with their individual schools, I think having a similar contact at universities that receive government funding would be better. They would have to be officers with Special Victims training. That way, law enforcement and the student body are the primary concerns, and not school politics. This also demonstrates that sexual assault is taken seriously, because a report to the SRO would be a report to a legal officer of the law. No administrative bureaucracy.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    It would be beneficial for student to actually have someone on campus trained to deal with sexual assault, instead of lumping those duties on to a random administrative person.
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    Why not have someone there to help a student after a traumatic experience?
    Like (8)
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    Share
    Too often these victims are swept under the rug by administration who wants the problem to go away. The perpetrators often get away with it. I think this would be a positive step forward.
    Like (7)
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    The nature of reporting rape is different than the nature of reporting an assault or murder. Often victims would not report a rape, who would report a murder they witnesses, out of personal shame, guilt, or confusion. Victims need someone they can trust. Schools bring a lot of young people together, and are more familiar than the police to students. They are in the best position to help.
    Like (6)
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    I will never understand why sexual assault on campus is investigated by campus police and not local law enforcement. They don't need an advocate, they need to know the police will handle the situation and internal school politics won't play a factor in prosecuting the offender.
    Like (5)
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    Schools often mishandle these type of crimes in their campus because they are either untrained, trained incorrectly, or selfishly motivated. An independent advocate could help ensure a survivor of rape is given both the care s/he needs to pick up the pieces of her/his life and perhaps get a little of the justice that is so often elusive in this type of crime.
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    There must be somebody that is not looking out for the interest of the university but rather the interest of the victim. The universities don't care about the victim - they care about their reputation.
    Like (3)
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    It is incredibly important to hold schools accountable. Sexual assault is an epidemic on college campuses at this point.
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    That should be the work of our justice system.
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    Students deserve to have an advocate when they feel most vulnerable.
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    Stop 'requiring' and 'mandating' anything in our free Republic!
    Like (2)
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    To suggest schools shouldn't be responsible for sexual assault of their students is like saying they shouldn't be responsible for theft or murder on their campus. We would not tolerate this; we should not tolerate their lack of support for sexual assault victims.
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    As a parent of a child who was sexually assaulted at Penn State University, I understand how important this issue is and how badly it is needed. There were no resources for my daughter to access and she had no guidance as to what to do. Please help protect our youth.
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    That seems very kind and helpful, but probably unrealistically expensive, and puts the burden on the college, which just happens to be the location not the victimizer.
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    again, another no brainier. YES do it
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    So many schools mishandle these cases it's astounding!
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    I think there should be a certain number of representatives per cases of sexual assault, not just one per school. For many big schools, this is a major problem, whereas some small private schools might not be dealing with this issue.
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    This is a tough one. While my heart goes out to victims of sexual assault, holding the college responsible is a slippery slope and one that I can't support.
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