Reps. Fitzpatrick, Speier, Kuster, and Adams Reintroduce HALT Campus Sexual Violence to Strengthen Prevention Efforts, Hold Perpetrators Accountable
Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Annie Kuster (NH-02), and Alma S. Adams (NC-12) reintroduced the Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) on Campus Sexual Violence Act, a bipartisan bill with 32 cosponsors. The Act will strengthen prevention efforts and the enforcement of laws to eradicate the epidemic of campus sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable.
“Our institutions of higher education must be held accountable for lax policies against sexual violence occurring on their campuses. Young women and men attending college deserve the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive in a safe environment, free from fear,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “The HALT Act ensures that universities take every possible step to eradicate sexual violence on college campuses. With nearly one-in-five young women, and 6-percent of young men likely to experience some type of sexual violence on campus, Congress must act to keep our youth safe.”
“This Sunday marks the 47th anniversary of Title IX becoming law, yet students at colleges and universities across the country continue to report unequal access to education due to sexual harassment and assault. The grim reality is 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are destined to become victims of sexual violence on campus. This is a national outrage and embarrassment,” said Rep. Speier. “It’s also indefensible that 63 percent of universities shirk their legal responsibilities in response to these horrific crimes. Thanks to the bravery of survivors and students who have refused to remain silent, the hard work of advocates, and my colleagues from both sides of the aisle who have joined me in reintroducing this bill, this issue is finally getting the attention it needs and deserves. No parent or student should have to factor the danger of sexual assault into their college preparation. No institution of higher learning should be allowed to sweep these crimes under the rug or blame and shame survivors. I urge my colleagues in the House to swiftly pass this bill and commensurate action in the Senate. The future of so many of our brightest minds depends on it.”
Fitzpatrick and his colleagues timed the introduction of the HALT Campus Sexual Violence Act ahead of the 47th Anniversary of Title IX on June 23rd to further raise awareness of the epidemic of campus sexual violence. Under federal law, students are entitled to an educational environment free of sexual harassment and violence. However, the National Institute of Justice estimates that 63 percent of universities shirk their legal responsibilities when responding to these violent crimes.
In addition to bipartisan Member support, the HALT Campus Sexual Violence Act is supported by End Rape on Campus, Know Your IX, the National Women’s Law Center, American Association of University Women, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Network to End Domestic Violence, Girls, Inc., Feminist Majority, and many other advocacy and education groups.
What they’re saying:
“No student should ever fear for their safety on the campus they call home,” said Rep. Kuster. “As co-chairs of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, Rep. Speier and I are bringing people together from both sides of the aisle to work toward solutions that will make our schools and communities safer. We continue to hear extremely alarming stories about the pervasiveness of sexual violence on campuses across the country. We were elected to take action, and Congress must move with urgency to end this outrageous epidemic. By strengthening prevention and enforcement efforts on college campuses, as well as improving coordination and public awareness, the Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) on Campus Sexual Violence Act is an important step forward. I am pleased to join with my colleagues to help introduce this important legislation.”
“Sexual assault happens far too often on college campuses. As a mother, grandmother and college professor for more than 40 years, this issue is very personal to me. Every student should feel safe and welcome on their campus and has the right to pursue their education without fear,” said Rep. Adams. “With the Administration’s decision to rescind President Obama’s Title IX guidance documents specific to addressing sexual violence, it’s even more important that Congress take steps to strengthen protections for students. I am proud to join Rep. Speier as a co-lead of the bipartisan HALT Campus Sexual Violence Act.”
“While Title IX became law 47 years ago, sadly students still experience sexual violence in schools,” said Kim Churches, CEO of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). “AAUW fully supports the bipartisan HALT Campus Sexual Violence Act, because it’s long past time for action on this critical issue. The HALT Act confronts campus sexual violence in multiple ways, including putting in place climate surveys at every college and strengthening penalties when schools fail to comply with the law. If the HALT Act is passed, we believe students will see and feel real change on campuses.”
“It is a school’s responsibility to ensure students are able to learn with safety and dignity. This bipartisan bill is a crucial step towards guaranteeing students across the country receive the protections they deserve,” said Emily Martin, Vice President for Education and Workplace Justice at National Women’s Law Center. “We are proud to support the HALT on Campus Sexual Violence Act, which will reinforce this vital responsibility and set new standards to better support students.”
“Rep. Speier has been a steadfast champion for survivors of sexual assault, and we're grateful for her leadership along with Reps. Fitzpatrick, Kuster, and Adams. We have serious work to do to prevent and address sexual violence on campus,” said Terri Poore, Policy Director, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. “The HALT Act empowers survivors to take action for themselves while holding campuses more accountable to both address and prevent sexual violence.”
“Universities and colleges have failed survivors of sexual assault and dating violence. Faculty and administrations have been complicit in abuse and violence by failing to effectively address these crimes and by hiding the truth. The HALT Act will require a focus on campus and survivor safety over institutional reputations,” said Monica McLaughlin, Director of Public Policy at the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).
“The HALT Act is dedicated to supporting students and closing gaps in a system that disproportionately harms survivors facing systemic barriers. I am thrilled that this piece of legislation also has a focus on prevention and puts the onus of dismantling rape culture on systems and schools—not on survivors. Survivors’ voices are roaring, from activism in our schools and local communities all the way to Capitol Hill. Ending sexual violence needs to be a national priority and this piece of legislation is proof we are being heard,” said Jess Davidson, Executive Director of End Rape on Campus.
“The HALT Campus Sexual Violence Act brings us closer toward the goal of eradicating sexual violence on college campuses, and we applaud Rep. Jackie Speier for reintroducing this bill and standing up for women and girls,” said Stephanie Hull, President and CEO of Girls Inc. “The unfortunate reality is that sexual violence starts well before girls go to college, and Girls Inc. looks forward to working with members of Congress to develop solutions tailored for K-12 schools. Every young person deserves to be safe in school and has the right to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”