By Bob Katzen
The Higher Education Committee’s agenda includes legislation requiring all colleges and universities in the Bay State to biennially conduct a sexual misconduct climate survey of all students. The bill was approved by both the House and Senate last year but never received final approval and a trip to the governor’s desk.
The survey would be anonymous and would include the number of reported incidents of sexual misconduct at the school; students’ awareness of institutional policies and procedures related to campus sexual assault; if a victim reported the sexual misconduct; and if a victim was informed or referred to local, state, on campus or other resources and victims’ access to support services including appropriate medical care, legal support and protection from retaliation.
Sexual misconduct is defined in the bill as incidents of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, gender-based violence, violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity, sexual harassment and stalking.
“This legislation would shine a light on the sexual assault climate in different institutions and so motivate a stronger response to the problem of campus sexual assault,” said Sen. Will Brownsberger (D-Belmont), the Senate sponsor of the measure. “It will also give all students a safe way to express their feelings about their experiences.”