sexual assault climate survey for massachusetts higher ed. 

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Legislative Update:

H.4159, a new draft of H.2998, was reported out of the Joint Committee on Higher Education. It was then referred to the Committee on House Ways and Means where it was redrafted as H.4810. 

The House of Representative unanimously passed the bill for engrossment on July 25, 2018.

The bill was amended in the Senate on July 31st, 2018, at which point it was too late for the appointment of a conference committee to reconcile differences between House and Senate language. 

Sexual assault is a public health epidemic in our communities, and especially on our college campuses. We owe it to the young men and women who enroll in our fine colleges and universities in Massachusetts to do all we can to make sure that they have a safe environment in which to learn. 

This legislation creates a task force to develop a model sexual assault climate survey for the campuses of public and private institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth. It also mandates that all higher education institutions in the Commonwealth annually implement either the model survey or an internally developed survey and report the results to the Commissioner of Higher Education.

One of the biggest difficulties we face with this problem is the lack of good information. An estimated 90% of assaults are not reported, severely undermining our ability to understand and deal with this crisis. Collecting anonymized feedback from students, faculty, and staff at higher education institutions about their perceptions and experiences is a vital first step in ending sexual assault.