Schneider, Bishop Introduce Bipartisan ALERT Act to Address Sexual Abuse at Universities
U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (IL-10) and Mike Bishop (MI-08) this week filed House companion legislation for the Accountability of Leaders in Education to Report Title IX Investigations (ALERT) Act, which was recently introduced by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). In the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal at Michigan State University, the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Pennsylvania State University, and others, the ALERT Act seeks to hold universities that receive federal funding accountable for sexual abuse cases that threaten student safety.
“Senior administrators and board members have a responsibility to ensure our college campuses are safe environments for learning and personal growth by working diligently to protect these communities from harassment and sexual predators,” said Schneider. “Recent events have exposed severe shortcomings in the processes universities use to handle incidents of sexual violence, including examples where university officials failed to act or claimed to be unaware of investigations into abuse. This bipartisan bill ensures leadership is informed of incidents of employee sexual misconduct and held publicly accountable for their response.”
“There is nothing more important than our children’s safety. When students come forward with reports of sexual misconduct, colleges and universities must take action and be held accountable for any willful protection of a predator,” said Bishop. “This legislation is a step towards preventing these abuses from occurring in the future by ensuring reports of sexual misconduct are thoroughly reviewed by university leadership.”
The ALERT Act:
- Requires federally-funded colleges and universities to submit an annual certification to the Secretary of Education affirming that the school’s President, or equivalent officer, and at least one other member of the Board of Trustees have reviewed all Title IX and Clery Act sexual abuse investigations involving an employee that were reported that year.
- Includes in the certificate confirmation that neither the President, nor equivalent officer or board member has interfered with or inappropriately influenced an ongoing investigation.