WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today sent a letter to University of California President Janet Napolitano, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White, California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris, Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities President Kristen F. Soares and California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools Executive Director Robert W. Johnson urging them to voluntarily implement the provisions of the Survivor Outreach and Support Campus Act (SOS Campus Act) by creating an independent victim’s advocate on every campus.
“As our students return to campus, they are counting on their universities to not only educate them, but also to protect them,” Senator Boxer wrote. “Yet, as you know too well, campus sexual assault has reached epidemic levels in our country, and I am writing to ask you to create an independent victim’s advocate on your campuses.”
Senator Boxer introduced the SOS Campus Act with Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) in July. The legislation would require every institution of higher education that receives federal funding to designate an independent advocate for campus sexual assault prevention and response. The advocate would be responsible for ensuring that survivors of sexual assault – regardless of whether they decide to report the crime – have access to:
· Emergency and follow-up medical care
· Guidance on reporting assaults to law enforcement
· Medical forensic or evidentiary exams
· Crisis intervention, ongoing counseling and assistance throughout the process
· Information on their legal rights
The advocate will also conduct a public information campaign on the campuses.
Senator Boxer continued, “I am working hard to pass the SOS Campus Act in Congress, but our students cannot afford to wait another minute for that to happen.”
The bill is supported by the University of California, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Women’s Law Center, Break the Cycle, Jewish Women International, the American Association of University Women, Futures Without Violence, the Peace Officers Research Association of California, the Violence Prevention Coalition of Orange County, the Association of Title IX Administrators and Savannah Badalich, Founder of UCLA’s 7000 in Solidarity: A Campaign Against Sexual Assault.