UT Students Worry Federal Bill Could Deter Sexual Assault Reporting
Some students at UT-Austin are concerned about a new federal bill trying to address sexual assault on college campuses. They worry it will deter students from reporting assaults and UT Student Government recently passed a resolution against the bill.
The bill, House Resolution 3403, sponsored by Texas Representatives Pete Sessions and Kay Granger, wouldn’t allow universities to investigate accusations of sexual assault unless the victim gives written consent to file a report with the police.
Various sexual assault advocacy groups and the Association of American Universities oppose the bill. They say it could deter students from reporting these crimes, if they don’t want to involve the police.
Currently, sexual assaults are reported to university’s Title IX office, which deals with discrimination cases. Taral Patel is the UT student government chief of staff and co-author of the resolution.
“This would single out survivors of sexual assault to be the only kind of victim of a crime which would have to be reported to police in order for the university to take any meaningful action,” Patel says.
If the accuser does report the assault to police, the university can only take action temporarily against the accused student – and only if they are deemed a threat to campus safety – by instituting a 15-day suspension.
The Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee supports the bill, and says it could prevent false reporting and give people accused of sexual assault more due process.