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H.R. 5354 (113th): Campus Accountability and Safety Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 31, 2014.

Campus Accountability and Safety Act - Amends provisions of the Higher Education Act of 1965 known as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act to require institutions of higher education (IHEs) that participate in title IV (Student Assistance) programs to include in their annual campus security reports provided to current and prospective students and employees:

the memorandum of understanding that this Act requires IHEs to enter into with local law enforcement agencies (and update every two years) to clearly delineate responsibilities and share information about certain serious crimes, including sexual violence, occurring against students or other individuals on campus; and specified information regarding the disposition of sexual offense cases by the IHE. Requires the crime statistics that IHEs are to compile and provide in such reports to be compiled in accordance with:

definitions used by the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 for the offenses of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking; and definitions for other offenses that are available under the National Incident-Based Reporting System or the Uniform Crime Reporting Program of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or, if not available there, that are provided by the Secretary of Education. Prohibits the statistics for such other crimes from identifying the victims or persons accused of such crimes.

Requires IHEs to provide new students and employees with a statement that identifies domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking as crimes which will be reported and with respect to which, based on the victim's wishes, the IHE will cooperate with local law enforcement.

Directs the Secretary to develop and administer through an online portal a standardized, online, and annual survey of students regarding their experiences with sexual violence and harassment. Omits survey responses from the annual crime statistics IHEs must report, but requires the Secretary to publish survey information that includes campus-level data for each school on the Department of Education's website annually.

Requires the Department to make publicly available guidance regarding the intersection of the campus security and crime statistics reporting requirements under title IV and requirements under title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Authorizes the Secretary to impose a civil penalty upon IHEs that fail to carry out campus security and crime statistics reporting requirements.

Requires each IHE that receives federal funding to establish a campus security policy that includes:

the designation of one or more confidential advisors at the IHE to whom victims of crime can report anonymously or directly; authorization for the IHE to provide an online reporting system to collect anonymous disclosures of crimes; provision on the IHE's website of the telephone number and URL for a hotline providing information to sexual violence victims and the name and location of the nearest medical facility where an individual may have a rape kit administered by a trained sexual violence forensic nurse, including information on transportation options and reimbursement for a visit to such facility; and an amnesty clause for any student who, in good faith, reports sexual violence to a responsible employee, with respect to a student conduct violation revealed in the course of such a report. Amends the Education Amendments of 1972 to require the Secretary to establish a title IX website that includes:

the name and contact information for the title IX coordinator at each IHE, including a brief description of the coordinator's role and the roles of other officials who may be contacted regarding sexual harassment; and the Department's pending investigations and the actions it has taken regarding all title IX complaints and compliance reviews related to sexual harassment. Requires each IHE to employ an individual who shall complete minimum training requirements and be responsible for: (1) reporting cases of sexual harassment to the title IX coordinator; and (2) providing students and employees who report having been a victim of sexual harassment on or off campus with a written explanation of their rights and options.

Requires each individual who is involved in implementing an IHE's grievance procedures to have training or experience in handling sexual violence complaints and the operations of the IHE's grievance procedures. Sets forth minimum training requirements.

Requires each IHE that receives federal funding to establish and carry out a uniform process for disciplinary proceedings relating to claims of sexual violence that shall not vary based on the status or characteristics of a student involved in the process.

Authorizes: (1) the Secretary or the Attorney General (DOJ) to impose a civil penalty on IHEs that violate or fail to carry out title IX requirements regarding sexual violence, and (2) individuals to file a complaint regarding such a violation with the Department's Office for Civil Rights.

Amends the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 to: (1) increase the minimum grant that may be provided to IHEs to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking on campuses; and (2) authorize the use of such grants to train campus personnel in conducting victim-centered, trauma-informed (forensic) interviews.