CORRECTION: The original version of this story misrepresented Bethany Wichman-Buescher. Wichman-Buescher is the Client Services Director at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. The story has been updated to reflect these changes.
Republican sponsors of a U.S. House of Representatives bill hope to change the process of reporting sexual assault on college campuses.
Currently, college students who experience a sexual assault only need to go through their university to report the incident. Title IX law requires universities to respond to these reports in order to maintain federal funding.
Under the Safe Campus Act, colleges and universities would be required to forward sexual assault allegations to police if they have written permission from the accuser.
The bill’s largest supporters include the National Panhellenic Conference and other Greek organizations. Laura Doerre, president of the NPC organization Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, said the legislation presents a comprehensive solution to the sexual assault problem.
“This is the only pending legislation that would help remove predators from campus,” she said. “It also provides due process rights for students and campus organizations.”
Some sexual assault advocacy groups do not share this enthusiasm for the bill, however.
Monika Johnson Hostler, president of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, said she has no idea what the motivation behind the bill is.
“Requiring someone to report to law enforcement when they’re already barely reporting it isn’t doing anyone any good,” she said. “We need to expand options and opportunities for victims — not restrict them.”