New rules on campus violence near

BY KRISTEN EAST | MARCH 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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One of the most sweeping national mandates regarding sexual misconduct and violence will go into effect on Friday.

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 — formerly known as the Campus SaVE Act — was enacted in March 2013 as an amendment to the Clery Act. The new set of laws aims to safeguard students against sexual assault and harassment through increased reporting obligations while at the same time providing resources and training for prevention.

The act requires all participating higher-education institutions to report compliance with the required policies and procedures by no later than Oct. 1.

Though the deadline for the full compliance is months away, university officials say their respective institutions are making the necessary changes required under the act.

“There’s a commitment to look at the act and continuously review it to make sure we’re in compliance,” said Monique DiCarlo, the sexual-misconduct-response coordinator at the University of Iowa. “It’s definitely something I’ve been talking about with President [Sally] Mason and Vice President [Thomas] Rocklin and [Chief Diversity Officer] Georgina Dodge.”

The act requires any national college or university, public and private, participating in federal student-aid programs to increase transparency, elaborate on victims’ rights, and provide prevention and awareness programs.

Specifically, higher education institutions are required to do the following:
• Report offenses for domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and include these in annual security reports
• Expand reportable “hate crimes” categories to include those based on bias against gender identity or national origin
• Include descriptions of the institution’s internal procedures for cases involving domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking
• Include descriptions of education and prevention programs

While the UI follows many of the new requirements, DiCarlo said officials hope to improve the amount and quality of employee training, as well as the policy and response protocol for dating and domestic violence.

One of the federal negotiators for the reauthorization act said this is the case for a number of higher-education institutions.

“Many colleges and universities already meet many, if not most, of the requirements that are a new part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act,” said Holly Rider-Milkovich, the director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center at the University of Michigan. “I believe that the legislation does indicate that campuses have an ongoing responsibility to provide this information.”

One major point of reform concerns the way in which universities report specific crimes. The law defines domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and institutions will be expected to provide records of these offenses in their annual security reports.

DiCarlo said these offenses might have come up as different crimes in the annual reports, depending on how victims reported the incidents.

Penn State University, like the University of Michigan, has reported these offenses for several years.

“We’re not doing anything out of the ordinary,” said Audra Hixson, an assistant director of the Center for Women Students at Penn State. “What we have going in terms of education as well as response has been pretty much in line with what the SaVE Act requirement defined.”

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