The office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued an information bulletin Tuesday morning indicating the need for collaborative efforts between law enforcement and university officials regarding campus sexual assault. The bulletin comes after the passage of two campus sexual assault bills in the last year, AB 1433 and SB 967, which dictate how campuses should respond to reports of sexual assault on campus.
“Today’s bulletin ensures that education leaders and law enforcement understand their responsibilities under these laws, enforce them consistently, and collaborate to protect victims,” said Harris in a press release.
AB 1433, authored by Assemblymember Mike Gatto, amended the California Education Code in September, requiring higher education institutions to establish protocol for reporting incidences of sexual assault to law enforcement. Campuses must implement written procedures at their school sites by July 2015, as well as written agreements with law enforcement agencies.
Campuses must adopt proper reporting procedures in order to be eligible for the Cal Grant Program.
“Students at our colleges and universities deserve to learn without living in fear of sexual assault, and they deserve to know that crimes [that] occur on campus won’t be treated any differently than those that occur elsewhere in our community,” said Gatto in a press release.
SB 967, authored by State Senator Kevin De Leon, requires campuses to adopt an affirmative consent policy when evaluating reports of sexual assault. Implementation of an affirmative consent policy requires that a lack of voluntary agreement or consent is to be considered sexual assault, regardless of a victim’s silence or lack of protest during the alleged assault. Whether the victim’s silence is voluntary or involuntary due to unconsciousness, drug and/or alcohol use or a medical condition is irrelevant.
Campuses must adopt this affirmative consent standard into their disciplinary procedures, as well as establish prevention and outreach programs with on-campus and community organizations.
In the coming months, the Attorney General’s office will be working with law enforcement and campuses to develop guidelines for collaboration between law enforcement and universities.