White House creates task force to combat sexual assault on campuses

Ally Mutnick, Campus Editor

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday the creation of a new White House task force that will address the high rate of sexual assault on college campuses.

The group, which includes the Attorney General and the secretaries of the Interior, Education and Health and Human Services, will assess sexual assault prevention at universities and form practices for responding to sexual assault. 

The report released Wednesday by the White House comes just more than a week after Northwestern released its own updated sexual misconduct policy, which created a clearer definition of consent and a more comprehensive list of what constitutes sexual violence. 

The White House report cited statistics, noting that one in five women is a survivor of sexual violence. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has started federal investigations of sexual assault negligence at many universities including Amherst College, Swarthmore College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The vice president’s office and the White House Council on Women and Girls will lead the task force and submit recommendations on combatting sexual assault to the president within the next 90 days. 

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 both provide federal guidelines for preventing and addressing sexual violence at universities. However, the report noted some institutions do not adequately follow these rules.

“We must strengthen and address compliance issues and provide institutions with additional tools to respond to and address rape and sexual assault,” the report said.

Email: allymutnick@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @allymutnick

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