In the wake of controversies at colleges and universities across the country, legislators have introduced a series of bills that would dramatically alter how sexual violence on campus is handled by forcing police involvement. These bills, commonly known as “mandatory referral” or “mandatory reporting” laws, would require that survivors’ reports be turned over to law enforcement without their consent. Some bills even include provisions that would criminalize professors who respected survivors’ desire for confidentiality.
While these proposals may seem intuitive to many – and indeed may be well-intentioned efforts by lawmakers to support survivors – if passed, mandatory reporting bills will leave students less safe, not more. Know Your IX has heard from a number of survivors who say unequivocally that they would never have reported an assault to their school if they were forced to go to the police first. In fact, a survey conducted by Know Your IX and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence found that 88 percent of survivors said that, were their campuses required to turn rape reports over to the police, fewer victims would report to anyone at all.
By decreasing reporting, mandatory police referral policies leave rapists free to roam campus with impunity. These policies also make it more difficult for survivors to receive the Title IX services and accommodations to which they are entitled. As advocates and survivors ourselves, we firmly reject the idea that colleges should be able to expel a student for plagiarism or physical assault but not for rape.
This section has been excerpted from our resource on “Resisting State-Level Mandatory Police Referral Efforts.”
Know Your IX strongly opposes bills like North Carolina’s HB2 legislation that have restricted transgender people’s access to restrooms, locker rooms, and other gender-specific public facilities in the name of “protecting” women and girls from sexual violence and harassment. As advocates fighting sexual assault on campus and beyond, we know that bathroom bills don’t prevent gender-based violence; they exacerbate it.
Evidence clearly shows that equal rights for transgender students, including in access to single-sex facilities, don’t cause sexual assault. Half of Americans already live under state or local laws which protect transgender people in public places—including by allowing them to use bathrooms and other public facilities consistent with the gender they live every day. Despite this, there is no evidence of a public safety threat in the 17 states and hundreds of cities that have implemented transgender non-discrimination protections.
States should instead pass legislation guaranteeing transgender people equal rights and dignity in education, including in accessing facilities that match their gender identity.
This section has been excerpted from our resource on “Anti-Trans Discrimination.”
In the wake of several high profile cases of students transferring from school to school after being found responsible for committing sexual assault, lawmakers across the country are considering proposals to mandate that universities note findings of sexual misconduct on students’ transcripts.
As survivors ourselves—some of whose perpetrators have transferred to other universities—we are sympathetic to the impulses motivating this effort. That said, we believe mandating transcript notations may hurt survivors in the long run and may undermine our commitments to equal access to education for all. We oppose transcript notations for four key reasons:
- Mandated transcript notations may discourage victims from reporting.
- Transcript notations may discourage administrators from opening an investigation or adjudicators from finding a perpetrator responsible.
- It’s not clear that transcript notations make communities safer.
- Once someone serves their disciplinary punishment, that punishment should end.
Schools have a responsibility to ensure that their campus communities are ones in which students can learn free from violence. We propose that schools alert the university to which a student has transferred of a sexual misconduct finding after the student has been admitted. In this way, the new school receives knowledge of the student’s past behavior and is able to take reasonable steps (e.g., mandatory counseling, anti-violence classes, etc.) to prevent violence in the future, without foreclosing the possibility of a student being able to access education at all.
This section has been excerpted from our resource on “Transcript Notations”
One in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college, and 32 percent of female students report having been abused by a dating partner. Guns are the most common weapons used in the murders of intimate partners. While proponents of campus carry bills have suggested that allowing students to carry guns will protect them from becoming victims of sexual assault, the truth is that the vast majority of campus rapes are perpetrated by the victim’s partner, friend, or close acquaintance—precisely the people around whom victims would never think to carry a gun, let alone use one. And the presence of a gun in a case of domestic violence makes it five times more likely that the victim will be murdered, regardless of who owns the gun.
Though some individual victims might believe that they are safer while carrying a gun, the research is clear: arming potential victims is not an effective strategy for preventing sexual or dating violence, and will actually increase the likelihood that victims or other bystanders will be wounded or killed.
This section has been excerpted from our resource on “Campus Carry and Campus Rape”