By Sandy Santangelo
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, Public Law 113-4 (VAWA) was signed into law on March 7, 2013. Section 304 of the VAWA, known as the Campus Sexual Violence Act, changes existing requirements and imposes new obligations on institutions that will require additional Clery Act crime reporting obligations, mandated student disciplinary procedures, and educational and training programs.
The effective date of the new requirements is March 7, 2014. The Department of Education will likely issue guidance on the annual campus security report possibly by updating the Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting. The first report that must include the new required information will be the report issued October 1, 2014. Since the regulations have not yet been issued yet it is expected that a good faith effort to include the statistics for the 2013 calendar year should be made by all institutions. It is understood that complete statistics may not be available for 2013 since institutions may not have been collecting data for the first few months of the year.
The new requirements will impose additional reporting requirements for “dating violence”, “domestic violence” and “stalking”. Additionally, “national origin” and “gender identity” will be added to the hate crime categories that must be reported. Also, institutions will be required to withhold the names of victims as confidential when a “timely warning” of crime is issued that is considered a threat to students and employees.
Institutions must provide additional information to include a victim’s option to notify and seek assistance from law enforcement and campus authorities, or decline to do so, and the victim’s rights and the institution’s responsibilities regarding restraining and protective orders. The educational programs that the institution provides for all incoming students and employees should include information regarding rape prevention and awareness, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. There should be ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns to provide this information.
The statutory changes will require changes to the regulations in 34 CFR Part 668, Subpart D. A notice was published in the Federal Register (78 Fed. Reg. 22467) by the Department on April 16, 2013. On September 19, 2013 it was announced that a negotiated rulemaking committee would be established to address the changes made by the VAWA to the campus safety and security reporting requirements in the Clery Act (78 FR 58571). Subsequently, on November 20, 2013 it was announced that the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee was being formed and that sessions will be held during February, March and April 2014.
Volume 1, Issue 1