In recent years, higher education institutions have redoubled their efforts to respond appropriately to incidents of sexual misconduct. The April 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter from the Department of Education made complying with Title IX regulations an imperative for colleges and universities. The Violence Against Women Act, reauthorized in 2013, imposes new training and reporting obligations for colleges under its Campus Sexual Violence Act ("SaVE Act") provision. The Campus Safety and Accountability Act (CASA), currently pending in Congress, stipulates additional obligations, including the appointment of confidential advisors and the administration of an annual climate survey.
U.S. Colleges Face Ongoing Scrutiny and Pressure
Although traditional colleges and universities have mostly been in the spotlight, all the federal and state legislation applies to two-year colleges as well. However, sexual misconduct often looks different on two-year campuses compared to their four-year counterparts. The community college student population is likely older, and many students have families of their own. As a result, this population is more likely to experience sexual harassment, stalking, and domestic violence.
While a typical community college may only receive a handful of sexual misconduct reports each year, this does not necessarily mean sexual misconduct isn't an issue for community college students. Often, a low number of reports could indicate a significant problem with a college’s reporting infrastructure. When students want to report an incident of sexual misconduct, they’re confronted with a maze of reporting processes and barriers. Considering students' workload and additional responsibilities, they often become discouraged and decide not to file a report if they cannot do so easily.
Want more guidance for community college leaders?
Your students have diverse goals and multiple barriers to graduation. Your revenue is falling fast. And your inclusive mandate means you can't leave any students behind. We're here to help you improve student success outcomes, win future enrollments, and build financially sustainable enterprises. Learn more about the Community College Executive Forum.
Next, Check Out
Sexual Misconduct Reporting