Sexual Assault on Campus

Students attending college should expect to find a safe and supportive campus environment. Campus safety issues—particularly as they relate to incidents of sexual assault—are receiving heightened national attention, as they should. Initiatives to enhance campus safety must assure the safety and fair treatment of all students. They must also be flexible enough to be adapted to the particular circumstances of each institution.


Colleges and universities have seen an increased and sustained focus on their handling of sexual assaults on their campuses. Recent Congresses and the Obama Administration launched numerous initiatives aimed at highlighting the issue, devising approaches to address it, and strengthening enforcement. Many states have also launched initiatives in this area.

In addition, advocacy groups have been active in highlighting the issue, and the topic has received widespread media attention.

As the Trump Administration awaits confirmation of cabinet secretaries and high ranking officials, it is undetermined how administrative guidance on this issue might change.

Federal Requirements & Obama Administration Initiatives

  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Amendments to the Clery Act - Final regulations implementing the changes made to the Clery campus security law went into effect on July 1, 2015.
  • Title IX enforcement activities were aggressively pursued by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights through the end of the Obama Administration. The most recent guidance document was issued in April 2015.

What You Can Do

  • Assure that your campus has appropriate policies and procedures in place to address incidents of sexual assault.
  • Identify and develop relationships with local law enforcement and community service providers.
  • Assure your campus is in compliance with federal requirements under the Clery campus safety act and Title IX—as well as applicable state and local laws.

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