Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have reintroduced the bipartisan, bicameral Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA) to combat sexual assault on college campuses. The measure seeks to protect students by providing them with additional resources and by strengthening colleges’ accountability and transparency standards. The legislation was also introduced by Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Sexual assault is a crime, and like any crime, weak enforcement emboldens perpetrators. Our bipartisan, bicameral bill will make data more transparent, provide colleges with needed resources and give students a clear person to report to who can provide confidential advice. This will help ensure perpetrators are brought to justice and survivors have the resources needed to recover from life-altering trauma. By taking these necessary steps, our bill will help deter and prevent sexual assault on college campuses,” Grassley said.
“Sexual assault remains an all-too-common occurrence in colleges and universities across the country, and for far too long, there has been a lack of accountability among higher education institutions with varying access to data and resources depending on the institution. Students are demanding that Congress take this problem seriously, which is why I am proud to reintroduce my bipartisan Campus Accountability and Safety Act. This legislation would not only professionalize the response to and reporting of sexual assault, but also protect survivors and help give them the support they need. I urge my colleagues to take this issue seriously and fight alongside us to pass this bipartisan bill,” Gillibrand said.
“While we’ve made some progress to protect survivors of campus sexual violence with my Campus SaVE Act, which became law in 2013, more work is needed to combat the troublesome persistence of sexual violence on college campuses,” said Maloney. “The Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA) would increase transparency and reporting, address ambiguities in the law, beef up protections for survivors, and strengthen enforcement for survivors of sexual violence on college campuses. Domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking are horrific crimes that exact a physical and psychological toll on survivors and an entire community. Students should never feel they are unsafe on their campuses and should have access to support services and resources.”
“The threat of sexual assault on college campus remains all too prevalent in the United States, with RAINN estimating that 13% of all students experience some form of sexual assault,” said Katko. “This tragic trend must end now. Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve been proud to work on bipartisan efforts to help keep students safe, and I am proud today to join my colleagues in reintroducing the Campus Accountability and Safety Act. This bipartisan bill would require greater transparency and accountability, while also establishing expanding resources for colleges to prevent sexual assault.”
Specifically, CASA would:
- Increase transparency and reporting required under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure Act;
- Create a campus safety website that would give students information on each institution’s title IX coordinator and similar officials, along with instructions on how to file a complaint and include relevant data reported by institutions;
- Establish new campus resources and support services for survivors of campus sexual assault, including coordinators to provide information and coordinate support services;
- Establish a uniform process to adjudicate sexual assault cases and ensure on-campus personnel receive proper training; and
- Create a competitive grant program, funded through fines established by CASA, to address and prevent sexual violence on college campuses.
The bill is also cosponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).
Grassley helped author the original Campus Accountability and Safety Act in 2014 and has been a leading advocate for its passage in the 114th, 115th and 116th sessions of Congress. Grassley and Gillibrand have also teamed up to push for justice and accountability in military assault cases through their bipartisan Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act.
Grassley has been a staunch advocate for survivors, including for young athletes. After sexual abuse allegations against Larry Nassar were made public, the Judiciary Committee under then-Chairman Grassley convened the first congressional hearing and advanced legislation to protect young athletes from sexual abuse. Recently, Grassley cosponsored and voted to advance the Speak Out Act, which clarifies that nondisclosure agreements cannot prohibit survivors from speaking out about sexual assault or harassment.