BERWYN, Pa., Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This position statement addresses the five bills now before Congress that seek to regulate campus safety, specifically addressing issues of gender-based violence: the SOS Campus Act, the CASA bill, the HALT bill, the Fair Campus Act and the Safe Campus Act. This is a somewhat unorthodox format for an ATIXA position statement. Rather than taking a position for or against a bill, ATIXA has created a comprehensive list of the provisions of each bill, and has taken a position on each provision. The reason for this approach is that these bills will likely be consolidated together into an omnibus campus safety bill, and there are merits and demerits to each one.
Prior to addressing the individual portions of each bill, ATIXA wish to draw special attention to its overall stance regarding the Fair Campus and Safe Campus Acts. ATIXA is strongly opposed to many of the provisions in the Fair Campus and Safe Campus Acts. The practical application of some portions of these bills would entrench inequitable processes that disempower victims/survivors, provide improperly skewed rights for those accused of sexual violence, and provide fraternities with special protections from accountability and college regulation. Title IX has dramatically aided institutions in creating fair, equitable, and impartial processes at campuses across the nation. These bills would unravel much of that progress.
Some of the positions taken in the Fair Campus Act and the Safe Campus Act are predicated on the idea that colleges should not be handling rape cases, which are more properly addressed by the criminal justice system. This fallacy must be called out, on two levels. First, colleges don't address rapes. They never have, do not currently, and never will. Rape is a crime. No college has the authority to determine that a crime occurred. Instead, colleges address (and are mandated by Title IX to address) all forms of sex discrimination, including sex discrimination that occurs in physical form. Sexual violence may constitute the crime of rape, but these bills ignore the fact that it is also a type of discrimination in physical form. Why would you want a college to address all forms of discrimination but sexual violence, just because it has a parallel to a crime? It is not a zero sum game, where a victim's/survivor's choice to resolve an allegation of discrimination internally to a college forecloses the option to also report that incident to the criminal justice authorities when and if the victim/survivor so wishes. Second, we must understand that criminal convictions for non-stranger rapes that occur on college campuses are so rare that anyone arguing for a criminal prosecution as the only response to campus sexual violence is really arguing to let the perpetrator get away with it. Turning these cases over to a criminal justice system that is actually less effective at addressing sexual violence than college campuses are is not the answer.
ATIXA will be working diligently on behalf of its members to communicate these positions to Congress, the White House, and the Department of Education.
What resulted is a digest of the provisions of each law, what bill or bills contain(s) the provision, and then ATIXA's position on each provision in its current form as of October of 2015.
Founded in 2011, ATIXA is the nation's only membership association dedicated solely to compliance with Title IX and the support of our more than 4,000 administrator members who hold Title IX responsibilities in schools and colleges. ATIXA is the leading provider of Title IX training and certification, having certified more than 2,500 Title IX Coordinators and more than 5,000 Title IX investigators since 2011. ATIXA releases position statements on matters of import to our members and the field, as authorized by the ATIXA Board of Advisors. For more information, visit www.atixa.org.
1109 Lancaster Avenue, Berwyn, PA 19312
Michelle Issadore, M.Ed.
Assistant Executive Director of Prevention and Advocacy
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SOURCE Association of Title IX Administrators