Obama Administration Takes Stand against Sexual Assault
Vice President Biden speaking out against sexual assault at University of New Hampshire, which was chosen as the location for the announcement because of its exceptional sexual assult prevention programs. Photo: AP Photo/Cheryl Senter
By Kathryn Knight Randolph
April 05, 2011
Yesterday, on behalf of the Obama administration, Vice President, Joe Biden, and Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, not only spoke out against sexual assault on school campuses but also presented a list of guidelines for schools to help prevent further cases, according to CBS News.
The Obama administration’s guidelines include the following, taken from NPR:
• Schools must use a “preponderance of evidence” standard in sexual assault claims, meaning if it’s more than likely that sexual violence occurred, there should be a punishment.
• In the event that drugs and alcohol were present during the sexual assault, the victim cannot be punished for using these substances.
• A victim of sexual violence must not only have a right in the investigation but also in the outcome.
• If the sexual assault happens in off-campus housing, the school is still required to investigate.
• Schools must complete investigations in a timely manner, regardless of an impending criminal investigation.
• These guidelines aren’t only targeted to college campuses but also high schools, middle schools and elementary schools.
Overall, the guidelines will create a safer environment for victims to report instances of sexual assault as well as ensure their continued safety once the allegations have been made.
The release of these guidelines comes, coincidentally, just days after 16 students and alumnae from Yale filed a complaint which stated “the university has repeatedly failed to take action on harassment and sex crimes, including rape,” reported by CBS New York.
This claim has now launched a federal investigation into Yale’s campus culture. The prestigious school made national headlines in 2008 when several fraternity men were caught on video denigrating women on campus through sexually charged slurs and signs. And as recently as early March of this year, according to CBS New York, a naked party at the school sent several party attendees to the hospital, launching an investigation by the Yale Police Department into sexual forms of hazing.