WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Annie Kuster (D-NH) introduced the Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) on Campus Sexual Violence Act, a bipartisan bill with 36 cosponsors. The Act will strengthen prevention efforts and the enforcement of laws to eradicate the epidemic of campus sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable. A version of two of the provisions on campus climate surveys and an interagency task force passed the House as part of H.R.1620, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
“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. Congress must act to keep our youth safe.”
“The grim reality is that a quarter of undergraduate women and 7 percent of undergraduate men are destined to become victims of sexual violence on campus. And nearly 40 percent of survivors who report sexual violence to their schools experience a substantial disruption to their education, including dropping out,” said Rep. Speier, co-chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. “Students and parents shouldn’t have to factor the danger of sexual assault into their college preparation. Institutions of higher education cannot 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 bipartisan bill. The future of so many of our brightest minds depends on it.”
“No student should ever fear for their safety on the campus they call home,” said Rep. Kuster, co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. “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 advance 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 – 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.”
The bipartisan Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) on Campus Sexual Violence Act strengthens prevention and enforcement efforts by:
- Instituting biennial climate surveys on student experiences with domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking;
- Creating an interagency task force to increase coordination between agencies and enhance prevention of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking in education;
- Giving the U.S. Department of Education the authority to levy fines for noncompliance with civil rights requirements under its authority, including Title IX;
- Increasing penalties for violating the Clery Act;
- Creating a private right of action for students harmed by institutions that fail to meet campus safety requirements under the Clery Act;
- Requiring public disclosure of institutions under investigations, the sanctions (if any) or findings issued pursuant to such investigations, and a copy of program reviews and resolutions agreements entered into between higher education institutions and the Department of Education and the Department of Justice under Title IX and the Clery Act;
- Requiring public disclosure of a list of institutions that have requested to be exempt from Title IX;
- Expanding institutional requirements for notifying and publicly posting students’ legal rights and institutions’ procedures once an incident has been reported.
In addition to bipartisan Member support, the HALT Campus Sexual Violence Act is supported by End Rape on Campus; Know Your IX; Girls, Inc.; National Women’s Law Center; American Association of University Women (AAUW); and National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
Comments from supporting organizations are below:
“Even though Title IX has been the law of the land for almost five decades, students still experience sexual violence in schools,” said Kim Churches, chief executive officer of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). “We need immediate action on this critical issue; it’s time to pass the bipartisan HALT Campus Sexual Violence Act, which will combat the problem on many fronts. AAUW believes that if every college implements climate surveys and if strong penalties are imposed when schools fail to comply with the law, we will finally see real change on campuses—and students will be safer.”
“Rep. Speier has been a steadfast champion for survivors of sexual assault, and we're grateful for her leadership along with Reps. Fitzpatrick and Kuster. We have serious work to do to prevent and address sexual violence on campus,” said Terri Poore, Policy Director of the 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.”
“Campus sexual violence is a public health crisis that must be treated as such, and complicity is not the answer. In order for us to have safer and violence-free campuses, we need to start with ripping up the rug that allows the perpetuation of harm to be swept under it. Therefore the HALT Act brings us one step closer to holding campuses accountable and brings a new wave of transparency that is not only desired but much needed. As student survivors are returning back to campuses this Fall, the HALT Act will support these students and give them the protections they deserve and have a right to. The HALT Act places the responsibility back onto the school and requires them to institutionalize safety over reputation,” said Kenyora Parham, Executive Director of End Rape On Campus.
The HALT Campus Sexual Violence Act is cosponsored by: Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), Alma S. Adams (NC-12), Mark Takano (CA-41), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Adam Smith (WA-09), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At large), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Grace Meng (NY-06), Judy Chu (CA-27), Federica Wilson (FL-24), John Yarmuth (KY-03), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), David Cicilline (RI-01), Donald M. Payne (NJ-10), Deborah K. Ross (NC-02), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Brad Sherman (CA-30), Al Lawson (FL-5), Madeleine Dean (PA-4), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Jake Auchincloss (MA-4), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-11), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Dina Titus (NV-3), Peter Welch (VT-At large), and Brenda Lawrence (MI-14).
Click here for the full bill text.