McCaskill Wants Higher Fines for Colleges Over Sexual Assaults

Monday, 19 May 2014 08:48 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Senator Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat preparing legislation to push colleges to go further in dealing with sexual assaults, said higher fines may be in order for schools that violate federal rules.

Maximum fines of $35,000 per violation aren’t enough to get wealthy universities’ attention on the matter, and threats of the loss of federal funding are so harsh that they’re unlikely to be imposed, McCaskill said today in a roundtable discussion with victims’ rights advocates, along with campus safety and U.S. Education Department officials.

Rising federal complaints from students at universities across the U.S. and a task force report from the Obama administration have fueled concern about how colleges are handling the issue. McCaskill said she’s working with Democratic Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut on more appropriate penalties for schools that fail to meet U.S. standards for campus safety.

“We’re going to address the penalties, how realistic the penalties are, and whether there needs to be something other than the complete removal of federal funds, which is unrealistic,” McCaskill said in answer to reporters’ questions after the roundtable in Washington.

The Education Department is investigating at least 55 colleges to see whether they have violated Title IX, which bars sex discrimination in education and can be breached when schools fail to prevent and respond to sexual assaults. Colleges are also bound by the Clery Act, which requires them to report violence on campus, including sexual harassment and assaults.

Doubling Investigators

The education agency plans to double the number of investigators of Clery Act compliance over the next few years, Lynn Mahaffie, director of policy for the Office of Postsecondary Education, said in the roundtable.

McCaskill said she may propose reducing, rather than eliminating, government support to schools that violate rules. Increased fines could be particularly useful if they were directed to funding support services for rape victims or enforcement of government rules, said Laura Dunn, founder of SurvJustice, which advocates for sexual assault survivors’ rights.

“You could put it to anything that would help survivors and I’d be happy,” she said in an interview today.

The lawmakers are discussing how schools that break the rules might be punished according to their size, wealth and receipt of government funds, McCaskill said.

Psychological Trauma

At the roundtable, she also discussed how to get more assaults prosecuted by law enforcement officials, how assault data should be publicized, and whether more school officials should be mandated to report incidents of sexual misconduct.

Victims’ advocates at the roundtable cautioned against new laws that would force sexual assault survivors to report crimes to the police, citing the psychological trauma that such investigations can cause.

McCaskill, a former prosecutor, has sent out surveys to hundreds of schools on their sexual assault policies and practices, and plans to hold two more roundtables before filing legislation. She has also said she plans to hold congressional hearings on the issue.

 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Drone Almost Blocks California Firefighting Planes

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 16:27 PM

A private drone trying to record footage of a Northern California wildfire nearly hindered efforts to attack the flames  . . .

NY Mayor de Blasio: Brooklyn Bridge Security Breach a Worry

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 16:18 PM

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says a security breach involving the changing of flags at the Brooklyn Bridge last week is . . .

Yankee Fan Finds, Returns Red Sox World Series Ring

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 16:16 PM

When Boston Red Sox executive Drew Weber got home from dinner in New York on July 24, he immediately noticed something w . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved