(April 18) – The House approved a bill led by Speaker Crisanta Duran and Rep. Faith Winter to address sexual misconduct in higher education by a vote of 34-28.
In 2017, the Trump administration rescinded guidance for institutions of higher education on how they should address sexual assaults under the federal law, Title IX. The lack of federal direction means that states like Colorado have to step up to develop policies to promote and ensure the safety of students on campuses around the state or risk losing important protections.
“This bill empowers victims to make decisions about whether their claim is treated confidentially and respects the privacy of individuals who must deal with the trauma of their assault every day,” said Speaker Duran, D-Denver. “In the absence of federal leadership, this Colorado solution will ensure that incidents and allegations of sexual misconduct at institutions of higher education are dealt with swiftly and that there is a fair process for everyone involved.”
Studies show that approximately 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted during their college years. The number of women who are sexually harassed is even higher. Much of this goes unreported.
“This is about access to education,” said Rep. Winter, D-Westminster. “Sexual assault and harassment on campus often goes unreported because of unclear reporting standards. Our bill creates a fair, equitable, transparent and consistent response to sexual assault and harassment in Colorado’s higher education institutions.”
In partnership with the institutions, HB-1391 creates a fair and consistent response to sexual misconduct in higher education settings to ensure that all students know how to report and know that the administrative process will be fair for both parties.
The bill now goes to the Senate.