Casey To Every Single PA College: What Are You Doing To Address Campus Sexual Assault?

PA Senior Senator, Campus SaVE Author Requesting Data From Institutions Of Higher Education In Pennsylvania On Campus Safety Practices To Ensure Compliance With Federal Law

Casey To Every Single PA College: What Are You Doing To Address Campus Sexual Assault?

Washington, D.C. – In an effort to ensure that students across Pennsylvania have a safe learning environment, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), primary author of the Campus SaVE Act, which was enacted as a part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, is pressing 123 colleges and universities in the Commonwealth to ensure that they have adequate policies in place to prevent campus sexual assault. Specifically, Casey is requesting information about institutions’ efforts to fight this epidemic.

“As you know, under the Campus SaVE Act, all institutions must have in place policies and programs to prevent sexual violence; to ensure victims of sexual violence understand their rights and the resources available to them; and to ensure prompt, fair and impartial disciplinary action,” wrote the Senator.  “I urge you to review [your] policies and practices to ensure that you are in full compliance with the law, and that you are working with students to create a safe and welcoming environment for all students that does not tolerate sexual violence.”

Full text of the letter below and copies of individual letters available upon request.

Dear [Institution President]:

I am deeply concerned by recent student protests at Swarthmore College that indicate how much work remains to ensure that every student has a safe learning environment. As the author of the Campus SaVE Act, which was enacted as a part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (also referred to as the “VAWA Amendments to the Clery Act”),  I have worked to ensure rigorous protections against sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking for students, and to create appropriate guardrails to ensure that colleges and universities are taking action to protect all students. Institutions of higher education need to be places where students can learn and grow without fear. That means that school administrators need to work with students to create a culture of safety and accountability, through ongoing efforts and not just in response to a crisis.

As you know, under the Campus SaVE Act, all institutions must have in place policies and programs to prevent sexual violence; to ensure victims of sexual violence understand their rights and the resources available to them; and to ensure prompt, fair and impartial disciplinary action. I urge you to review [your] policies and practices to ensure that you are in full compliance with the law, and that you are working with students to create a safe and welcoming environment for all students that does not tolerate sexual violence. This includes ensuring that student groups such as fraternities are abiding by the law and [your] conduct policies.

To that end, I respectfully request that you provide answers to the following questions regarding your institution’s policies and practices.

  • The Clery Act, as amended by the Campus SaVE Act, requires each institution to provide, as part of its annual security report, “a statement of policy that addresses the institution's programs to prevent dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking,” (20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(8)(B) and 34 C.F.R. §668.46(j)) including information about the institution’s primary prevention and awareness programs and campaigns. The Clery Act as amended also requires each institution to provide, as part of its annual security report, “a clear statement of policy that addresses the procedures for institutional disciplinary action in cases of alleged dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.” In addition, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 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 assistance.”
  • Please provide the most recent copy of your institution’s annual security report.
  • Please provide details of the prevention and awareness programs and campaigns for new and returning students. Please indicate whether any such programs or trainings are mandatory for undergraduate students, graduate students and/ or faculty, when these programs are provided and how often the content is updated.
  • Please indicate (1) the number of campus security authorities, as defined by the Clery Act, on campus; (2) the number of faculty and staff who must report incidents of sexual misconduct if they become aware of them; (3) the number of confidential support resources available for survivors of sexual misconduct; (4) the number of employees dedicated to investigating sexual misconduct claims; (5) any other staff dedicated to preventing and responding to sexual misconduct on campus.
  • Does [your institution] have in place a campus conduct policy that prohibits the offenses of sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking? If so, please provide a copy of this policy.
  • Please provide details of the procedures for institutional disciplinary action in cases of alleged sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Please include information pertaining to reporting requirements for students and staff. Additionally, please provide a copy of the student handbook or other publication that outlines these procedures.
  • Without disclosing personally identifiable information, please provide a breakdown of the number of complaints received regarding alleged sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking; the number of investigations conducted and the number of resulting disciplinary actions. Please provide a description of the ways that complaints regarding alleged sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking are handled.

Please answer the following questions regarding your institution’s policies and practices.

  • Does [your institution] have in place strategies and programs to prevent and raise awareness about sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking? If so, how are these strategies and programs distributed?
  •  How many athletics teams, fraternities and sororities (or other similar social organizations with dedicated on- or off-campus houses) currently operate at COLLEGE? Are members and leaders of these organizations required to undergo any training to prevent and raise awareness about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and bystander intervention?
  • Please describe the process in place by which disciplinary action for sexual violence is taken against such social organizations. Without disclosing personally identifiable information, please indicate whether [your institution] has taken any disciplinary action for sexual violence against such social organizations or their members since July 1, 2015 when the regulations implementing the Campus SaVE Act took effect? If so, please provide the date, a brief description of the allegations and the resulting disciplinary action.
  • What additional steps has [your institution] taken to provide a safe and supportive community for students?
  • What are the challenges [your institution] has faced in implementing policies to prevent and respond to sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

###