Monday in Iowa, Hillary Clinton will promise to crack down on sexual assault on college campuses — broadly embracing policy ideas supported by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and a bipartisan set of US senators — according to a campaign official.
The preview of Clinton's plan, which was scant on details, broke down her aims into three main buckets that largely reflect policies incorporated in a bill Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced in late July.
- Increasing access to support for victims of sexual assault
- Forcing campus and criminal justice systems to treat accusers and the accused with fairness
- Redoubling efforts to prevent assaults both through programs on college campuses and in high schools, where her campaign said "norms begin to set in"
The campaign official noted that Clinton's ideas are in line with Obama's efforts to combat sexual assault on campus. Last September, the president unveiled the "It's on us" campaign to raise awareness about the issue, with Biden, the author of the Violence Against Women Act and a potential Clinton primary rival, at his side.
"The administration has made important progress in strengthening our nation’s response to campus sexual assault. Still, there is still a long way to go," the Clinton campaign official said in an email to reporters. "Far too many college students still face sexual violence, and too often their perpetrators are not held accountable. Clinton will work to address the root causes of the crisis, as well as increase the levels of care, fairness, and accountability in our response."
McCaskill, a Clinton backer, introduced a campus sexual assault bill in the Senate just before Congress's annual August recess. It already has 33 co-sponsors, including Iowa's two Republican senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, as well as New Hampshire's senators, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Kelly Ayotte, and Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio of Florida.
The McCaskill bill would require colleges that participate in federal student aid programs to delineate responsibilities for local law enforcement and campus security in cases of alleged sexual assault, report data on sexual assault, require notification of accusers and the accused of outcomes of disciplinary procedures, and set up rigorous education, training, and disciplinary programs through their campus security policies.