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Introduction of new bill aims to hold university presidents accountable for sexual misconduct of employees

A new bill introduced by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators would require presidents at colleges and universities to guarantee each year that they reviewed all incidents of sexual misconduct reported to their campus Title IX coordinator, and that they didn’t interfere with investigations of those incidents.

The Accountability of Leaders in Education to Report Title IX Investigations Act was introduced Feb. 15, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, by Sen. Debbie A. Stabenow, D-Michigan, Sen. Gary C. Peters, D-Michigan, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. 

The bill came after Michigan State University’s “mishandling of allegations of sexual abuse against Larry Nassar … and Pennsylvania State University’s mishandling of alleged sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education

“In both the Nassar and Sandusky cases, university leaders failed to take action on or even claimed they were unaware of reports of sexual abuse by university employees, despite the fact that official Title IX or external investigations had been conducted,” according to a news release.

The bill would require “federally funded” colleges or universities to submit an annual certification to the secretary of education that a president or chancellor of that university reviewed each case and did not interfere in the investigation. 

“University officials must be responsible stewards of students’ trust, especially when they come forward with unthinkable allegations of abuse,” Cornyn said in a news release. “This legislation would ensure reports of sexual misconduct against campus employees have been thoroughly reviewed by university leadership.”


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