The White House has released recommendations on how to best combat the sexual assault epidemic facing college campuses. And they're not half bad.
The recommendations come after a 90-day investigation by the President's anti-sexual assault task force which found — shock of shocks — that colleges in the US kind of suck at preventing and responding to sexual assault.
To remedy this, the task force is making a slew of recommendations that sound a hell of a lot better than what colleges are doing now. Among them:
Colleges would be compelled to offer sexual assault victims confidential counseling with no obligation to initiate action against their attacker. This requirement exists, according to the task force fact sheet, because many students who are assaulted could benefit from counseling but don't necessarily want to bring disciplinary action against their attacker. Counselors would be trained to assist survivors in reporting their assaults if they so chose as well.
Schools will be asked to (voluntarily) complete what the task force is calling "climate surveys" as a way to gauge the prevalence of sexual assault on their respective campuses. While the surveys are completely non-compulsory at this time, the task force's fact sheet hinted that the President is looking into legislative options that would eventually require campuses to complete them.
This one made me fist pump a little bit: the task force found that training students in bystander intervention was an effective way to combat sex assault, and so colleges will be given tools to train students on how to identify and intervene in situations that could lead to sexual assault.
But wait! There's more! The task force also launched a website today that directs students to sexual assault resources and even assists them in reporting their school for violating federal law and provides schools with clear guidelines that spell out their obligation to protect their students.
Whether the task force's recommendations, once enacted, will be an effective tool in combatting the shameful amount of sexual assault that occurs on American college campuses remains to be seen. But one thing's for sure: almost anything would be better than what we're working with now.