Joe Biden Issues New Sexual Assault Guidelines For Universities

In an exciting move, Vice President Joe Biden kicked off Sexual Assault Awareness Month by clarifying and correcting the existing guidelines for universities receiving Title IX funding on how to address issues of sexual assault.  These guidelines are not new, but an official reminder of their existence is important, especially since Yale is currently being investigated for violating them.

“Students across the country deserve the safest possible environment in which to learn,” said Vice President Biden.  “That’s why we’re taking new steps to help our nation’s schools, universities and colleges end the cycle of sexual violence on campus.”

Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, also appeared with Biden at the University of New Hampshire, where they presented the guidelines.  If you’re interested in watching the whole speech, it’s available on Youtube.  The gist, though, is that the school has a responsibility to internally investigate sexual assault allegations, even if criminal charges haven’t been filed and needs an employee whose job it is to make sure that the university is complying with Title IX.  The report, which takes the form of a letter, also highlights schools’ responsibilities to prevent the “hostile environment” created by rape:

“If a school knows or reasonably should know about student-on-student harassment that creates a hostile environment,” the letter reads, “Title IX requires the school to take immediate action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.”

The report also cites disturbing statistics from a 2007 Justice Department report, which claimed that 1 in 5 college women and 1 in 16 college men are victims or attempted or actual sexual assault.

As a college student, it’s really heartening to see the vice president stepping up to address these issues, which are often not handled effectively or openly by universities.  These institutions are usually more concerned with protecting their image (which involves denying that sexual assault occurs) than they are in seeking justice for the survivors of sexual assault.  I’ve written in the past year about two sexual assault cases at Notre Dame which show just how damaging a school’s insensitivity to these issues can be.  It’s great to know that Biden is stepping up to make sure that these guidelines are enforced, and that he is willing to publicly acknowledge that universities need to do much, much more to make sure that sexual assault is correctly addressed on their campuses.


Photo from Flickr.


William C
William C4 months ago

Thanks for the article.

W. C
W. C4 months ago

Thank you for the information.

Ahron E.
Ahron E6 years ago

I thought it is up to the police to enforce the law not some college professor. When an individual takes the law into his own hands law enforcement will proscute him this should also apply to a college's administration. The administration would also would be wrong if it tried to imped a student allegeing sexual assault from going to the police.

The real solution is for all female colleges.

Leslie C.
Leslie Cochrane6 years ago

Just this legislation alone, confirms the vast difference between the current VP and the highly unethical, criminal and self-serving actions of the former administration's VP - Dick Cheney. Waging war for personal profit and deflecting attention away from catching the real terrorist "perp" of 9/11, corporate tax-evasion, canned hunting - This is Cheney's legacy. . . Long overdue legislation recognizing the rights of victims and dealing with a major issue involving millions of young women over time, indicates that America has finally elected a humanist-oriented government - one "for the people", as it was originally intended. The on-campus "boys will be boys" attitude that has ruined the lives of so many potential female role-models in our society, needs to end. How many male college-grads now sitting in positions of privilege and influence, are guilty of such sexual assault - or were dismissive of such behavior during their college years? Peter of The Wall Street Journal, thou dost protest too much.

Leslie W.
Leslie W6 years ago

Good job Biden! Hope he speaks out more on this issue.

Delana Darrow
Delana Darrow6 years ago

Good we need tougher sexaul assult laws inour country.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal6 years ago

Congratulations for this move, Biden. Too bad educational institutions will do more to protect their image than investigate allegations of assault, much less report these incidents to the authorities.

Seneca O.
Seneca O6 years ago

Great move for Biden! I know for a fact that when I have kids of college-searching age, I will be looking for schools with better systems of monitoring campus to try to prevent rape and properly addressing instances that do occur, not schools that put on a smile and tell me "that sort of thing doesn't happen here."

One thing we need is more women in high positions. As a female who has tried to get justice for violated women on a college campus, I know that it's near impossible to get men to really punish young men or empathize with the victim. We need authorities who will do away with the "boys will be boys" attitude.

Samantha Hodder
Samantha Hodder6 years ago

a good step forward

Kate Florio
Kate F6 years ago

I am very grateful for what Joe Biden did, EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS!!!

I don't know what else to say, except that I agree with James D. (2:10 PM), and it makes me want to throw up and die. Unfortunately, I think he hit the nail on the head. Right at this very moment, I have a desire to get off this planet. IF THAT IS WHAT TOO MANY OF YOU MEN WANT, I WILL OBLIGE!