Here is a summary of some of the laws to protect students and to help ensure survivor rights.
The Clery Act
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (known as the Clery Act) is a federal law requiring United States colleges and universities to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses.
Title VI is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities receive reasonable accommodations in all areas of civilian life, including employment and educational programs.
Title VI is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs or activities that receives federal funding.
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding.
End Rape On Campus provides technical advice or assistance for lawmakers and advocates on the following state and federal-level bills in order to ensure that survivors’ rights are protected at the highest levels. These are all pending bills that have been introduced to the House or Senate but have not yet passed and become official law, unless otherwise indicated.
The bipartisan Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) on Campus Sexual Violence Act aims to strengthen prevention efforts and the enforcement of laws to eradicate the epidemic of campus sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable.
Lead Co-Sponsors: Congress Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Annie Kuster (D-NH), and Alma S. Adams (D-NC)
Title IX Take Responsibility Act of 2021
The Title IX Take Responsibility Act of 2021 was introduced into legislation on September 28, 2021. It’s aim is to hold educational institutions accountable for any mishandling of sexual assault reports and failing to prevent further assaults.
Lead Co-Sponsors: Congresswomen Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jahana Hayes (D-CT)
Safe Equitable Campus Resources and Education Act of 2022
The Clery Act is a federal statute requires institutes of higher education that receive federal financial aid funding to maintain and disclose campus crime statistics and security information. The SECuRE Act makes targeted improvements to the Clery Act to ensure the needs of people with disabilities are included in campus planning and response to incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. It requires that materials provided to the campus community are available in accessible formats for people with disabilities. Campus prevention and awareness programs will need to address abusive behavior and attacks targeting people with disabilities, and campus policies for emergency response and evacuation must take into account the needs of people with disabilities.
Lead Co-Sponsors: Senators: Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Violence Against Women Act of 2022
The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, is a central way the Federal government responds to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. First signed into law in 1994, VAWA creates grant programs to provide services and housing to victims and survivors and training to improve the legal response to gender-based violence. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 is based on extensive work with survivors, direct service providers, and other stakeholders, and is the first reauthorization since the pandemic, which has exacerbated domestic violence and sexual assault.
Lead Co-Sponsors: Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Adult Survivors Act (New York)
The Adult Survivor Act aims to create a one-year window for the revival of time-barred civil lawsuits based on sex crimes committed against individuals who were 18 years of age or older in New York.
Lead Co-Lead Co-Sponsors: Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Brad Hoylman (Manhattan-D/WFP) and Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal (Manhattan-D/WFP)
Enough is Enough (New YOrk)
The new “Enough is Enough” legislation requires all colleges to adopt a set of comprehensive procedures and guidelines, including a uniform definition of affirmative consent, a statewide amnesty policy, and expanded access to law enforcement.
This legislation was signed into law in 2015.
Yes Means Yes (California)
In 2014, California garnered widespread attention when Governor Brown signed the nation’s first affirmative consent standard for colleges to use in campus sexual assault cases. The law established that consent is a voluntary, affirmative, conscious, agreement to engage in sexual activity, that it can be revoked at any time, that a previous relationship does not constitute consent, and that coercion or threat of force can also not be used to establish consent. Affirmative consent can be given either verbally or nonverbally. Additionally, the law clarified that a person who is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol or is either not awake or fully awake, is also incapable of giving consent.
“Yes Means Yes” is a groundbreaking effort. It’s particularly powerful because it empowers colleges and universities to hold perpetrators accountable who assaulted individuals who were either asleep or incapacitated by alcohol or drugs.
Governor Jerry Brown signed this into law in 2014.
An amici curiae (Latin for “friend of the court”), or amicus brief, is a legal brief where someone or an organization who is not a party to the action, but has a strong interest in the matter, petitions to the court for permission to submit a brief in the action with the intent to influence the court’s decision. End Rape On Campus has assisted in matters pertaining to campus sexual assault from the K-12 to higher education, and other educational institutions, like that of military academies, by serving as a friend of the court to express its interest in offering its perspective. The following amici curiae are what EROC has expressed interest.
Doe v. Gwinnett County School District
This is a civil rights suit on behalf of Jane Doe, a biracial female who, at age 16, was forced to engage in a sexual act at school by a high school male student. When Jane Doe reported the incident to school officials, they did not treat it as a report of sexual assault and instead blamed Jane Doe, disciplining her for violating the school’s policy on sexual misconduct and indecency. The school suspended Jane Doe for 10 days for “participating” in a sexual act, and, upon Jane Doe’s return to school, she was forced to attend class with her assailant. Read the Amicus Brief.
Doe v. United States
Protect Our Defenders (POD), the national organization dedicated to ending the epidemic of sexual assault and racial disparity in the military, filed an amicus curiae brief before the Supreme Court on Monday alongside 19 allied organizations in an effort to overturn the Feres Doctrine – a legal doctrine that prevents active duty service members who are injured as a result of military service from suing the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The brief contends that the Feres Doctrine enables continued sexual violence against servicemembers, particularly in light of a military justice system that does not provide an effective remedy to service-members that are victims of sexual assault.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Elisabeth D. Devos
The California Women’s Law Center’s (CWLC) filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the lawsuit brought by the Attorney General of California as well as the Attorneys General of 17 other states challenging the Department of Education’s May 19, 2020 Final Rule entitled “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance.”
The Final Rule strips away survivors’ rights and will lead to damaging effects for students who experience sexual harassment or violence. The Final Rule will further deter survivors of sexual harassment and sexual violence from coming forward or filing complaints against their attackers and it will disproportionately harm students of color. Women of color are more likely to be sexually harassed or assaulted than white women and are less likely to report it. Those who do come forward are forced into a traumatizing investigative process that is unlikely to yield equitable results. Ultimately, the Final Rule will increase incidents of sexual harassment and violence on school campuses and in educational programs and exacerbate inequities in reporting.