Criminal Justice News

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Readout of the Attorney General’s Meeting with D.C.-area College Campus Leadership on Addressing Campus Sexual Assault

 
Today, Attorney General Eric Holder met with campus leadership from eight Washington, D.C.-area colleges and universities: American University; Catholic University of America; Gallaudet University; Georgetown University; George Washington University; Howard University; Trinity University; and University of the District of Columbia, to discuss how administrations are addressing sexual assault on campus.

In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, the department’s Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) launched a campus tour from April 23-May 1 for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  Senior officials from the Departments of Justice and Education visited 11 campuses across the country, including public and private universities, community colleges, historically black colleges, and faith-based and tribal-affiliated institutions.

During today’s discussion, convened at the Department of Justice, officials shared lessons learned and feedback from the campus tour.  Campus leaders shared their achievements and challenges in implementing effective prevention and intervention strategies and responses to address sexual assault, including student engagement, public education efforts, strong collaborations and a focus on campus culture. Justice officials also encouraged school leaders to take advantage of the assistance being provided by the government.  Department of Justice campus assistance includes specialized training for school officials and guidance on how to improve their investigative and adjudicative protocols.

President Obama and Vice President Biden took an unprecedented step this year in the Administration’s effort to address campus sexual assault by establishing the “White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.”  The Task Force was charged with sharing best practices, and increasing transparency, enforcement, public awareness and interagency coordination to prevent violence and support survivors.  At the end of April, the Task Force issued their first report, reflecting what they had heard in the many listening sessions that were held this year, and what the government can do in the short-term to better partner with academic institutions.

Since 1999, OVW has funded approximately 400 campus-based projects, totaling more than $139 million, to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking on campuses.
Associate Attorney General Tony West, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Jocelyn Samuels, and OVW Principal Deputy Director Bea Hanson, as well as the Department of Education’s Jamienne Studley, Deputy Under Secretary of Education, and Seth Galanter, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office for Civil Rights, also participated in today’s meeting.  The roundtable discussion was organized in partnership with the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCCADV) University Leadership Initiative.

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