New York (August 18, 2015)—The National Association of Scholars (NAS) endorsed the Safe Campus Act, which ensures that campus sexual assault allegations be judged by law enforcement agencies.
When a college student reports being a victim of sexual assault, the college often begins its own inquiry leading to disciplinary procedures. Under the Safe Campus Act, the college may take these steps only if the alleged victim consents to an investigation by law enforcement.
Provisions of the Act are outlined in a diagram at the website of the organization Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE).
The Safe Campus Act, H.R. 3403 (full text here), is an amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1965 currently before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
The National Association of Scholars has historically called on colleges to discourage “hook-up culture,” and has declared that “Sexual assault on campus is a serious problem and there is a strong case that colleges and universities should be doing more to protect their students.”
“Following federal policies for campus sexual assault, colleges have been acting as private investigators, therapists, legal counsels to the plaintiff, legal counsels to the accused, judges, and juries rolled into one,” said NAS president Peter Wood. “These federal policies are biased against the accused, deny due process, and fail to presume innocence until proof of guilt. The Safe Campus Act guarantees due process and protections of the rights of the accused.”
Dr. Wood continued, “This bill reflects America’s longstanding commitment to the right to a fair trial. We urge Congress to enact it.”
About the National Association of Scholars
The National Association of Scholars is a network of scholars and citizens committed to upholding the standards of a liberal arts education that fosters intellectual freedom, searches for the truth, and promotes virtuous citizenship.
The NAS is a member of the Campus Justice Coalition, composed of groups and individuals concerned about legal justice for victims of sexual assault and due process for the accused.
The NAS has also opposed efforts to define sexual harassment to include attitudes and opinions. Its 1993 statement, “Sexual Harassment and Academic Freedom,” declares that “The resulting confusion of genuine harassment with less serious acts, and even with beliefs, brings anti-harassment policy into needless conflict with academic freedom.”
Contact: Peter Wood, President
(917) 551-6770, [email protected]