Vice President Joseph Biden travels to the University of New Hampshire today to discuss new Education Department guidance to public school districts, colleges, and universities about their responsibilities under civil rights laws to prevent sexual violence, the New York Times reports. Biden says campus sex crimes often go unreported because victims fear that universities will not discipline offenders.
“There is a terrible and alarming trend in the country of sexual violence,” said Russlyn Ali, who heads the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights. She cited a private, Internet-based survey of undergraduate women in 2007 at two public universities in which 19 percent of respondents reported that they had been victims of attempted or actual sexual assault while at college. The Education Department guidance says that once a school or university “knows or reasonably should know of possible sexual violence,” it must act to end the violence, protect those who have reported it, and investigate to find out what happened.