Last year, California passed the “Yes Means Yes” law, which changed the way consent works on college campuses within the state. However, sexual assault on college campuses remains a serious problem. One California lawmaker has proposed a measure aimed at punishing those students who commit sexual assaults on campus.
AB 967 would require any student found guilty of sexual assault to be suspended for at least two years. Additionally, all campuses would be required to report all sexual assault cases as well as their adjudication outcome. 1
The Logic Behind the Law
The measure was proposed by Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) as the Campus Sexual Assault Legislative Package. Williams authored the measure after holding three roundtable discussions in response to sexual assault reports from campuses across the state.
Research shows that one in seven men and one of every five women are sexually assaulted while attending college, yet not even five percent of those assaults are reported.
“In order to make campuses a safer place, survivors must come forward,” Williams said. “But survivors can only be expected to come forward if they know perpetrators will be held accountable.” 2
Research has shown that nationally, only about one-third of sexual assault on college campuses result in expulsion and less than half result in suspension. In at least four recent cases, students who were found guilty of sexual assault received probation. 3 The Campus Sexual Assault Legislative Package aims to prevent students that have been assaulted from having to share a campus with the perpetrator.
Legislation AB 968 requires colleges to note on the academic transcripts of students who are ineligible to re-enroll because they were expelled or suspended. This will increase campus communications and prevent a student from simply transferring to another college if they are found to be responsible for sexual assault. 4
Assembly Bill 969 requires that during the application process, students disclose if they had been previously expelled from college due to sexual assault. The bill also requires the college’s local governing board to hold a hearing to determine if the expelled student will be enrolled.
Concerns over the Campus Sexual Assault Package
While most agree that more needs to be done to increase student safety and hold students who commit sexual assault accountable, some worry the measures are not focused on the victims. Campus sexual assault policy expert S. Daniel Carter, of the non-profit VTV Family Outreach Foundation, said that the legislation “is not fully informed on the complexities of the issues related to campus sexual violence.”
He said that some victims may not come forward because they don’t want to be involved in a hearing, while others may not want to face the backlash that may occur when a perpetrator is expelled.
Share Your Feedback with Us
We at Wallin & Klarich would like to hear from you about this topic. Do you agree that students guilty of sexual assault should face a mandatory minimum suspension? What are some of the reasons you see that would make these laws a good or bad idea? Please feel free to leave your comments below.
2. [http://asmdc.org/members/a37/news-room/press-releases/college-campus-sexual-assault-legislative-package-receives-early-support-from-legislature ]↩
3. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/29/campus-sexual-assault_n_5888742.html ]↩
4. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/13/sexual-assault-transcripts_n_7036590.html?utm_hp_ref=college ]↩