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H.R. 3403 (114th): Safe Campus Act of 2015

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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 29, 2015.

Safe Campus Act of 2015

This bill amends title I (General Provisions) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) to establish requirements with respect to sexual violence allegations at institutions of higher education (IHEs).

An IHE that receives HEA funds, except a foreign institution, must provide support services to affected students and annual training to relevant personnel.

If an IHE receives a sexual violence allegation and written consent to proceed from the alleged victim, then the IHE must report and refer the allegation to local law enforcement. An IHE may not initiate an institutional disciplinary proceeding during a law enforcement investigation, except to impose certain interim sanctions (e.g., a class schedule adjustment).

The requirement to report and refer a sexual violence allegation does not apply if an alleged victim provides written notification to an IHE declining law enforcement involvement. In such case, an IHE may not initiate a disciplinary proceeding, including to impose interim sanctions.

This bill prohibits an IHE from imposing a sanction on a person, including a student organization (e.g., a fraternity or sorority), with respect to alleged sexual violence, except pursuant to a formal hearing in accordance with institutional disciplinary proceedings. It specifies due process requirements for such proceedings, permits an IHE to select the applicable standard of proof, and directs an IHE to publish applicable procedures in its student handbook.

It also prohibits an IHE from requiring a sorority or fraternity to: (1) admit members who do not meet membership requirements, or (2) waive its coverage exemption under title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 (title IX prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities) as a disciplinary or punitive measure.