2015 IMPACT25 Influencers: Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Claire McCaskill
"Right now, some colleges and universities are more inclined to expel a student for cheating on an exam than for committing sexual assault." -- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
According to the National Institute of Justice, one in five women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted, but many occurrences -- if they are even reported to authorities -- are often kept behind closed doors, even as federal law requires that colleges and universities be forthcoming about all types of violent crime on their campuses. What's more, according to the 2014 McCaskill Report, when a case involves an athlete, more than 20 percent of schools allow their athletic departments to investigate and resolve the incident from within.
In an effort to gain more transparency, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) co-sponsored the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, which demands much more stringent and detailed sexual assault policies on the part of universities. This policy proposal comes at a time of increased focus on campus sexual assault, thanks in large part to the student activists of End Rape on Campus and Know Your IX, who have led the movement that has placed over 100 schools under investigation by the Department of Education for violations of Title IX.
The landmark bill, which now has 34 bipartisan co-sponsors, would require schools to have a uniform process for dealing with assaults and to survey their students regularly, making their findings public. Following the lead of the White House, Gillibrand and McCaskill have stepped in to capture a sentiment and create tangible change.
More On Sens. Gillibrand and McCaskill
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• 55 schools face federal investigation Story »
The IMPACT25 is espnW's annual list of the 25 athletes and influencers who have made the greatest impact for women in sports. Explore the 2015 list at espnW.com/IMPACT25.