DearColleague.us

Letter

Jackie Speier

From the office of:

Jackie Speier

 

From: The Honorable Jackie Speier
Sent By:
justin.vogt@mail.house.gov

Date: 8/31/2016

Endorsed by: Know Your IX

Original Cosponsors: Janice Hahn

Dear Colleague,

In the last year alone, there have been several cases where universities, such as Baylor and Brigham Young, have placed honor or conduct code violations ahead of the reporting of sexual assaults on their campuses.  Survivors have been pressured and threatened
into remaining silent for fear of retaliation in the form of investigations into their private lives, lost scholarships, or even expulsion from their university.  Reluctance to report sexual assaults is already prevalent amongst survivors due to a culture
where victim blaming and shaming is the norm.  Universities, which we entrust with shaping our youth, have a duty under Title IX to prevent and address sexual assaults on campus. It is unacceptable for these same universities to discourage the reporting of
sexual assaults against the students they are supported to protect.

The Campus Sexual Assault Whistleblower Protection Act would allow students who are sexually assaulted (or who witness a sexual assault) to report to proper authorities (police or campus staff) without fear of being punished for either minor misdemeanors
such as underage alcohol or drug use.  Someone who drinks a beer at college should not have to give up their right to report their rape.

Students at Baylor University were forbidden to drink, use drugs, or engage in premarital sex, which was used to pressure students to pick between risking their own future as a student against holding their rapist accountable.  According to Chad Dunn, who
is representing several of the women assaulted on Baylor’s campus “a number of victims were told that if they made a report of rape, their parents would be informed of the details of where they were and what they were doing.”  Even after deciding to go forward,
some students were issued violations for consuming alcohol by the university requiring them to do community service. At BYU similar honor code violations were used to strong arm students into silence. And in particular LGBT students could face violations,
suspension, or even expulsion after discovery their sexual orientation and gender identity.

When those who have been sexually assaulted remain silent, their perpetrators remain at large. To address this glaring weakness in campus safety, I urge you to cosponsor The Campus Sexual Assault Whistleblower Protection Act. The deadline
for original cosponsors is COB Tuesday, September 6th. 
For questions or to cosponsor contact Justin.Vogt@mail.house.gov with my staff.

Sincerly,

Jackie Speier