When a Good Morning America reporter showed up on Yale's campus recently to look into the campus's alleged hostile sexual environment, a male student provided a demonstration by interrupting the interview to shout a sexually explicit remark. The school is currently under investigation for violating Title IX of the Civil Rights Act and has been home to many scandals, including a fraternity rape chant.
Yale isn't the only campus with a problem. According to the Department of Education, one in five college women has been the victim of attempted sexual assault. Today, Vice President Joe Biden is on a New Hampshire college campus with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to unveil new guidelines to prevent campus sex crimes under Title IX. It's part of a greater effort by the Obama administration to address sexual harassment and violence in schools. Here are three ways the new guidelines promise to curb sexual violence.
- Encourage more reporting: Biden says crimes often go unreported because victims worry the schools won't take action. The new guidelines make a school's obligation to respond to sexual assault clear. They read: "Once a school knows or reasonably should know of possible sexual violence, it must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred." Schools must also take steps to protect the complainant.
- Start young: One in 10 high school girls will have been physically forced to have sexual intercourse before she graduates. By the time they get to college, almost 20 percent of women will be victims of attempted or actual sexual assault. For that reason, Biden and Duncan announced a new national sexual assault awareness campaign for colleges, as well as K-12 schools. The new guidelines also recommend all schools take "proactive measures to prevent sexual harassment and violence" and "implement preventive education programs."
- Expand the school's role: The new guidelines say schools "have an obligation to respond to student-on-student sexual harassment that initially occurred off school grounds, outside a school's education program or activity. If a student files a complaint with the school, regardless of where the conduct occurred, the school must process the complaint." Also, schools "should take steps to protect a student who was assaulted off campus from further sexual harassment or retaliation."
Based on your college experience, do you think it's necessary for the federal government to step in to prevent sexual hostility and violence on campus?
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