Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is part of a bipartisan group of U.S. senators who will hold a press conference tomorrow to announce the introduction of legislation which aims to curb sexual assaults on college and university campuses. Grassley, a Republican, says, “There’s too many people connected with higher education that feel that sexual assaults on campus is something other than a crime.”
University of Iowa officials unveiled a six-point plan earlier this year to combat sexual assaults on the Iowa City campus, including training for students to safely intervene and late-night transportation for female students. Grassley says the bill is designed to protect students and remove sexual assault from the shadows by creating accountability and transparency on college campuses. “There hasn’t been enough attention given to sexual assault on campuses, in fact, there’s even efforts that we know about actually to cover it up,” he says.
Grassley says he and his colleagues have worked together for months to examine federal, state and local policies, collect feedback, and to craft a bipartisan bill to better protect and empower students and hold both perpetrators — and institutions — accountable. “Universities are afraid their reputation will be ruined if this information gets out, particularly if it’s brought up in the criminal courts,” Grassley says. “Quite frankly, if you’re going to stop sexual assaults on the campus, you’ve got to treat it for what it is, a crime.”
As one of its primary goals, he says the legislation aims to flip the current incentives that result in sweeping sexual assaults under the rug. The news conference in Washington D.C. is scheduled for 9:45 AM/Central on Wednesday.