PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Stephen Coleman

Telephone: 301-801-0608

Email: scoleman@saveservices.org

Proposed CA Bill Would Shortchange Sexual Assault Victims and the Accused: SAVE

WASHINGTON / May 31, 2017 – Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, a leading national organization working to end campus sexual assault, is calling on California legislators to oppose SB-169, citing a recent report that shows current campus policies are shortchanging identified victims and accused students alike.

The SAVE report, “Six-Year Experiment in Campus Jurisprudence Fails to Make the Grade,” details numerous cases of identified victims harmed by campus officials who allegedly failed to conduct a thorough investigation or to impose appropriate sanctions. In some cases, identified victims claim campus officials have discouraged the reporting of their assaults.

The problem can be traced back to 2011, when the U.S. Department of Education released a controversial guideline mandating that all allegations of campus sexual assault be handled by disciplinary committees. This had the effect of sidelining criminal justice authorities.

Against this background, the California legislature is currently considering SB-169, a bill that seeks to turn the problematic federal policy into state law. The bill states: “It is critical for California to implement the federal regulations issued by the United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights on April 4, 2011.”

Accused students are being mistreated, as well. Numerous lawsuits alleging lack of due process have been filed against California universities. In one recent decision, a judge ruled that San Diego State University violated the accused student’s Title IX rights sufficiently to “shock the Court’s conscience.”

A recent survey of California voters found 68.5% of respondents believe police, not colleges, should be responsible for investigating allegations of campus sexual assault, and 89.1% want the criminal justice system to make determinations of innocence or guilt.

SAVE believes SB-169 betrays both identified victims and accused students, while marginalizing the role of the criminal justice system. Instead, SAVE recommends consideration of the Campus Equality, Fairness, and Transparency Act.

SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments) is working for practical and effective solutions to campus sexual assault: www.saveservices.org