| 03.19.2018

Impeding reports or promoting safety –  ASUI votes on U.S. Safe Campus Act resolution


ASUI will join student governments and Greek houses across the country in taking a stance on the Campus Accountability and Safety Act.

Introduced earlier this year, the U.S. Senate bill would require students to report sexual assaults to the police before the university could take any action, among other measures addressing sexual assault cases.

“I think the bill has good intentions, but it”s just not there yet,” said ASUI Pro Tempore Kate Ricart, who wrote the resolution.

ASUI Sen. McKenzie MacDonald, who sponsored the resolution, she said she thinks ASUI will vote in favor of a resolution in opposition of the bill next week.

“Students on many campuses are concerned victims will report even less often with the police requirement,” Ricart said.

Ricart said the Student Disciplinary Review Board, which handles sexual assault cases, has a lower standard of proof than a court of law.

ASUI President Max Cowan, who sits on the board, said their standard of proof is closer to that in a civil case than in a criminal case.

Ricart said that allows the process to move more quickly. She said going through the court system would create a dangerous barrier to reporting assaults.

Cowan said this lower standard of proof is acceptable because expulsion is less impactful than a felony charge. He also said he thinks many favor the bill out of concern that the board lacks the same standard of due process that court proceedings have.

But Cowan said he thinks the board does achieve due process. He said the board provides a hearing notice and conducts an impartial hearing.

Ricart said she also dislikes the bill”s requirement of universities to report sexual assaults that occur on their campuses.

“It”s kind of an incentive to just expel students with little to no proof just so they don”t have to report the statistic,” Ricart said.

McDonald is a recent addition to the disciplinary board and said although she has not yet heard a sexual assault case, she has received Title IX training and thinks the bill would make things even worse for victims if passed.

Cowan said the bill would take away freedoms of victims to choose how to go through the healing process.

“This act impedes our goal of a community that is accountable, is safe and serves all students,” Cowan said.

McDonald said she does not expect any opposition to the resolution and hopes the senate will pass it next week.

Nishant Mohan  can be reached at  arg-news@uidaho.edu  or on Twitter @NishantRMohan

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