Legislation Passed to Makestate Colleges Safe and Inclusive

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo joined his colleagues in the House last week to pass legislation requiring Massachusetts higher education institutions to conduct surveys assessing the campus climate relative to sexual misconduct every two years.

With the goal of fostering safe and inclusive campus environments, the surveys – known as campus climate surveys – will assist institutions with gathering sexual misconduct data, including the number of incidents of misconduct as well as provide information about student awareness of campus policies and procedures, and help campuses identify at-risk groups.

“Massachusetts is home to thousands of college students and this bill will promote safer campus life and build transparency into the reporting of occurrences of sexual misconduct at institutions across the Commonwealth,” said Speaker DeLeo (D-Winthrop).  “Thank you to Reps. Scibak, Ehrlich and Farley-Bouvier for their work to move this forward and to the students who helped to advocate for this important measure.”

“Creating safe learning environments for students is as important to their growth and development as the quality of education they receive. This bill ensures that our higher education institutions and the Commonwealth are leading the fight to create environments that engender exploration and learning free from sexual violence, said Sen. Joseph A. Boncore (D-Winthrop).”  “As a co-sponsor and supporter of this legislation, I am so pleased that the House adopted this important bill,” said Rep. RoseLee Vincent (D-Revere).  “When enacted, this will aid educational institutions in establishing meaningful policy changes, which will in turn keep students safe by preventing future sexual assaults.”

The legislation requires universities and colleges use model surveys based on the recommendations provided by a 21-member task force, which is co-chaired by the Commissioner of Higher Education and the Commissioner of Public Health.

The legislation requires that the surveys are anonymous with no identifying information collected and that the results be published on institution websites 120 days after the completion of the survey.  The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

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