NAICU Washington Update

New White House Task Force and Negotiated Rulemaking Group Focus on Campus Sexual Assault Policies

March 07, 2014

Sexual assault policies and practices are receiving increased federal scrutiny. Shortly after the first negotiated rulemaking session dealing with the changes made to campus safety requirements by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), President Obama announced the formation of a White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.

The Task Force is operating under the leadership of the Office of the Vice President and the White House Council on Women and Girls. Those offices collaborated on the development of a report, “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action,” that details the incidence of rape on campus and the myriad of problems that stem from sexual violence.

The Task Force is comprised of representatives of a broad range of federal agencies, including the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Education. The group conducted listening sessions throughout the month of February and has also collected written comments. NAICU President David Warren participated in the February 21 listening session, and NAICU has joined the American Council on Education and several other higher education associations in submitting written comments to the Task Force. The Task Force is scheduled to release its final recommendations in mid- to late-April.

In addition, the negotiated rulemaking panel that is dealing with the changes made to campus safety requirements by VAWA, held its second set of meetings on February 24-25. The group discussed proposed new regulatory language dealing with definition of terms, the counting of crimes, campus policy statements, prevention programs, and disciplinary proceedings. All documents related to this rulemaking are available here. The group will have its third and final session March 31-April 1.

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