The Student Government Association’s College Advocates Supporting Higher Education (CA$H) Committee raises awareness about higher education issues that directly impact us all, especially those that affect our tuition. Every other week, we’ll discuss a different issue facing higher education.
In observation of Violence Awareness Week, we will discuss some major legislation affecting college campuses. In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It increased penalties for repeat sexual offenders and provided funding to train law enforcement personnel about the realities of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
VAWA was reauthorized in 2013 to include the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act. This law states that any acts of “domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking” must be reported in the campus crime reports. Under this legislation, victims are entitled to assistance from campus authorities, academic or residence changes and no-contact orders. The Campus SaVE Act also requires schools to run prevention and awareness programs, options for bystander interventions and risk reduction programming.
Here at Ramapo College, we have had a joint training for compliance with VAWA between the Assault Contact Team, Office of Student Conduct, College Disciplinary Review Board, Educational Opportunity Fund, Women’s Center, Human Resources, Public Safety, Counseling Services, Title IX Investigators and the Title IX Steering Committee. In addition, Ramapo now considers crimes committed against victims because of their national origin and gender identity as hate crimes. For students, Ramapo has instituted the Green Dot and Haven programs to educate students about the importance of bystander intervention.
It is important that students are aware of their rights under the law. Do you think these laws go far enough to protect students from violence and educate them about the importance of bystander intervention? If not, contact your political representative and make your voice heard during the upcoming elections on Nov. 4. Also, please attend the CA$H Committee meetings on Tuesdays at 9:20 p.m. in SC 223 to learn more about pressing higher education issues.