A bill establishing a framework to ensure proper Title IX reporting and accountability was signed into law this week by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs that receive federal assistance. House Bill 409 stems from a scandal involving sexual assault allegations against LSU football players that the school didn't properly investigate.
House Bill 409, now Act 472, mandates college employees report known power-based violence violations, which is defined as any form of interpersonal violence meant to control or intimidate someone else by asserting power over that person. These violations include dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and more.
Under the bill, universities will designate "Title IX coordinators" to coordinate the institution's efforts to comply with Title IX responsibilities. Universities also are required to establish "confidential advisors," who will provide support to students who are alleged victims of power-based violence.
The legislation strengthens the communication between law enforcement and college campuses. Campus police departments and any department that has jurisdiction over a college campus will now be included in a network of other law enforcement agencies that allows for information to be shared between departments.
Gov. Edwards released a statement after the bill, which was authored by Rep. Aimee Freeman, was signed into law:
I’m proud to have signed HB 409 by Rep. Aimee Freeman into law and have it as part of my legislative package. Born out of disappointment and frustration over the troubling allegations of sexual misconduct at our state’s flagship university, the bill establishes the framework that strengthens and clarifies Title IX reporting and procedures on our college and university campuses. It ensures that when a student reports such a violation, the Title IX process happens timely and thoroughly and that there are severe penalties in place if it does not. I applaud Rep. Freeman and all of the women legislators involved in addressing a serious problem and taking the necessary steps to make certain that all of our institutions of higher learning are safe for our students and that there is real accountability in place.
You can read the full text of the bill here.
The bill was included in several that Gov. Edwards signed into law on Tuesday. Find a full list here.
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