A bill by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) to ensure that crimes committed on college campuses are properly reported and investigated passed its first legislative hurdle today, receiving a 12-0 vote of support from the Assembly Higher Education Committee. The legislation, AB 1433, would require colleges to disclose certain violent crimes, including sexual assaults and hate crimes, occurring on or near campus to local police or sheriffs’ departments. The bill allows victims to request that their name be redacted from the report passed along to the local law enforcement agency. AB 1433 is co-authored by the Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), and Dr. Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), a former college professor.
The legislation comes after several California colleges have been accused of covering up on-campus sexual assaults, diminishing the chance that a perpetrator will be arrested and convicted, and creating more opportunities for a perpetrator to strike again.
“Victims of crime should not see their chances of justice hurt, nor should perpetrators be allowed to hurt others, because an administrator or school values its public image more than victims’ rights,” said Gatto. “AB 1433 will ensure that victims of violent crimes, sexual assaults, and hate crimes at California’s colleges have access to the expertise and investigatory powers of local police and sheriffs’ departments.”
Several California colleges are currently the subject of federal investigations or lawsuits for their handling and reporting of on-campus sexual assaults and other violent crimes that happened on or near campuses. By involving non-campus police and sheriff agencies, victims will be ensured a more thorough investigation and law enforcement officers will be more aware of crime trends within their jurisdiction.
“Crimes that occur on campus should not be treated any differently than those that occur elsewhere in our community,” said Assemblyman Gatto. “Victims and community members deserve to know that college administrators will involve law enforcement when appropriate.”