HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Sparked by a federal lawsuit alleging indifference at UConn to complaints of sexual assualt on campus, Monday Governor Malloy signed into law a new set of rules and regulations for all colleges, public and private, to address what is being described as a growing problem across the country.
It’s called the ‘College Sexual Assault Bill of Rights’ and a national petition drive started Monday.
Interviews and roundtables with sexual assault victims at seven colleges and universities around the state have re-affirmed that there is difficulty in finding support when incidents are reported. That the new law is not only needed but may not go far enough.
“There are far too many students that continue to struggle when victimized on their campus,” said Laura Cordes, CT Sexual Assault Crisis Services.
The State Law signed by the Governor Monday requires concise written notification to victims of all of their options and requires schools to have an on-going relationship with a sexual assault crisis service in their community.
Now there is a call for a national Sexual Assault Bill of Rights, guaranteeing the right to a safe campus, an impartial investigation confidentiality (which is part of the state law), clear notice of all available services, and a complete change of culture surrounding the issue.
“Stop blaming the survivor for; what she was wearing, whether she was drinking, who was with her, and where she was,” said Sen. Dick Blumenthal, (D) Connecticut.
When the five women at UConn first blew the whistle on the issue of sexual assaults on campus last fall, it was strongly implied that they felt that the police and others were trying to blame them for what happened.
The announcement Monday was attended by college presidents and deans from across the state who said that this fall things will be different and gave their full support to the bill of rights effort.
“Our commitment ultimately is to create an environment where students and all who are at our universities understand what it means to respect all members of the community,” said Mary Papazian, Pres., Southern CT State University.
You can read more about this effort, including that petition drive by going to blumenthal.senate.gov/bill-of-rights.