WASHINGTON — Legislation unveiled Wednesday by a bipartisan coalition of Senators would create tougher penalties for colleges that mishandle sexual assault cases, potentially levying millions of dollars in fines for schools that run afoul of its regulations.
The bill was unveiled at a press conference by co-sponsors Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with advocates for sexual assault victims. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) plans to propose sister legislation in the House.
Broken into five main parts, the Senate legislation would require nationwide surveys of students, increase financial penalties for violating existing regulations while introducing new ones, create new roles for victims’ advocates on campus and call for more disclosure by the Education Department about investigations it conducts under the gender equity law Title IX.