Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. and Senate Higher Education Chair Sandra Cunningham to create a Campus Sexual Assault Commission cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee .
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. and Sen. Higher Education Chair Sandra Cunningham to create a Campus Sexual Assault Commission cleared the Senate Budget Committee. (SenateNJ.com)
“College campuses should be nurturing and secure environments where students can grow and learn without fear,” said Senator Kean (R-Morris/Somerset/Union). “So many survivors have bravely come forward to share their stories. They deserve justice. By establishing a commission, we can develop real deterrents to combat the campus assault epidemic and keep generations of students safe from sexual violence.”
The bill, S-778, would establish a commission comprised of 12 members to study and evaluate emerging issues, policies and practices concerning campus sexual assault. The twelve-member commission would include experts, stakeholders, members of the public and at least one campus sexual assault survivor.
“As we continue to pass policies to ameliorate campus sexual assault, it is equally important we track the impact of those policies and look for ways to improve upon them,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson). “This commission will allow us to ensure accountability and consistency for how the colleges in New Jersey are addressing and responding to sexual assault. Given the national climate it is of the utmost importance that we hold our institutions accountable and protect our students.”
The commission would meet quarterly to address emerging issues and provide recommendations periodically to policy makers. They would also develop and administer campus climate surveys and create recommendations based on the findings of the surveys.
According to a report by the New Jersey Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault released in June 2017, approximately 20 percent of undergraduate women experience sexual violence while on college campuses around the nation, most often in their first year of school. Data also shows that a larger number of undergraduate students, particularly women, are impacted by sexual violence while on campus.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 12-0, and next heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.
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