“The parameters of [the Act] are broad,” Peterson said, explaining that it lacks specific prescriptions on some requirements.The Department of Education has crafted guidance to complement the Act’s mandates, but adapting new regulations into campus-specific policies can be tricky for school administrators.But proponents of the Fair Campus and Safe Campus acts don’t think that’s enough.Because college rape cases are almost never taken to criminal court—like the Vanderbilt University trial I reported on while a student there—they want to see more stringent protections for students who face penalties from their college.So it requires colleges to actually have specific policies, protocols, and responses,” Allison Kiss, the executive director of the Clery Center for Security on Campus, told me.What’s particularly novel about Campus Sa VE’s education requirements—and what many groups, including The White House’s It’s On Us campaign, tout as the key strategy—is its inclusion of bystander-intervention, the model that emphasizes the responsibility of those standing witness to potentially problematic situations to interrupt in whatever way possible.That’s where organizations like Know Your IX, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV), the Clery Center, and dozens of other national and local advocacy groups come into play: They give higher-education institutions access to various resources, such as simplified, common-language interpretations of relevant policy and on-call experts who can provide direction.
And the Safe Campus Act would go as far as to prevent colleges from investigating claims of sexual violence unless the complainant also reports to law enforcement.
Between now and the time that college students pack up for Thanksgiving break, more sexual assaults will happen on campuses nationwide than during any other time of the year.
The “Red Zone,” as this period is commonly known, is a time when new students are adjusting to the novelty and freedom of college life—and are thus particularly vulnerable to sexual assault.
But those efforts, too, come with there own challenges.
The work of many these organizations is being frustrated by some new legislative battles on the hill, according to Peterson, who oversees Know Your IX’s lobbying efforts.