Editorial: New bill greatly protects women on college campuses
Published: Friday, March 8, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 20:03
On Feb. 28 the House passed the Violence Against Women Act and President Obama has confirmed that he will sign it into law as soon as possible. Now that it has passed, a new bill addressing sexual assault victims and stalking on college campuses will be making its way to the president’s desk.
The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act hopes to change the way that colleges view sexual assaults, but more importantly, how they react to the crimes when they’re discovered. As of now, sexual violence is dealt with on a case by case basis depending on the school or university.
The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act is the first significant legislation to address rape on college campuses in 20 years. The Act would take a step toward making all college campuses have a set of guidelines and steps to follow to make response a little more strict, helpful and preemptive on a federal level.
The law would require colleges to include reports of dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in their annual crime statistics. Schools will also have to provide awareness programs for new students and employees. After a crime has been discovered by the university, they will be required to offer students or employees who are victims of abuse a change in housing or work environment.
The idea is to create an environment in college that looks at S. Daniel Carter of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation, a campus safety group formed after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre and a primary player in drafting Campus SaVE Act compares the new mentality to creating a vaccine for the problem rather than treating individual symptoms.
Many people don’t appreciate the idea of the federal government stepping in and saying that some rules are going to be mandatory. However, in this case, it is necessary. Sexual assaults and other violent crimes in that vein are grossly underreported and mishandled. While some schools have a fantastic record of being helpful for women who become victims on campus, this cannot be a hit or miss by school solution.
The new Act is necessary because without it, there’s a consistency problem. It’s not that the current system always doesn’t work, it’s that it doesn’t always work, which is an unacceptable thing when it comes to close to half a student population’s safety being in question.
It is our hope and the hope of every college campus in the country that president Obama makes good on his promise to be on the side of women and sign this new bill into law. It’s fantastic to see that the nation is taking steps towards siding with women, we encourage them to keep it up.