New Bill to Ensure Review of Sexual Abuse Reports at Colleges
A bi-partisan bill was introduced on Thursday in the U.S. House that if passed would strengthen college procedures on sexual abuse cases.
The bill was introduced by Senator John Cornyn and fellow senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both Michigan Democrats.
The Accountability of Leaders in Education to Report IX (Title Nine) Investigations Act, or ALERT Act, would require public university leaders to review any reports of sexual abuse by university employees.
The bill is likely a legislative response to the lack of oversight involved in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case, in which leaders at Michigan State University, where Nassar was once employed as a doctor, failed to review sexual abuse allegations against him.
Larry Nassar is also the former doctor of U.S.A. Gymnastics, convicted of abusing more than dozens of children and young women during his employment there. In February, Nassar was finally sentenced for his crimes. He must serve a combined minimum of 80 years in prison.
In a press release for the introduction of the ALERT Act, Senator Cornyn said, “University officials must be responsible stewards of students’ trust, especially when they come forward with unthinkable allegations of abuse. This legislation would ensure reports of sexual misconduct against campus employees have been thoroughly reviewed by university leadership.”
The ALERT Act would require a Title 9 (IX) coordinator to oversee investigations, coordinate disciplinary actions, and ensure compliance with federal guidance.
The ALERT Act would also require a university's president and Board of Trustees to submit an annual report, certifying that all reports of sexual abuse for the year had been reviewed.