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SB 19-007 - Establishes Standards for Sexual Misconduct Policies at Higher Education Institutions - Colorado Key Vote

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Title: Establishes Standards for Sexual Misconduct Policies at Higher Education Institutions

Title: Establishes Standards for Sexual Misconduct Policies at Higher Education Institutions

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Title: Establishes Standards for Sexual Misconduct Policies at Higher Education Institutions

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that establishes standards to prevent sexual misconduct at higher education institutions.

Highlights:

 

  • Defines “Clery Act” as the federal “Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act” (Sec. 1).

  • Defines “complainant” as the person who is subject to alleged sexual misconduct under an institution’s sexual misconduct policy (Sec. 1).

  • Defines “Department” as the Department of Higher Education (Sec. 1).

  • Defines “Title IX” as Title IX of the Federal Education Amendments of 1972 (Sec. 1).

  • Defines “responding party” as an individual who has been accused of sexual misconduct under an institution’s sexual misconduct policy (Sec. 1).

  • Requires each institution of higher education to adopt a sexual misconduct policy for enrolled students on or before August 1, 2020 (Sec. 1).

  • Specifies that an institution of higher education will follow federal law if there is a conflict between this section and any federal law or regulation, and the institution is thus at risk of losing federal money (Sec. 1).

  • Requires each sexual misconduct policy to include (Sec. 1):

    • Definitions of forms of sexual misconduct consistent with federal and state law and policy;

    • Confidential and nonconfidential reporting options for sexual misconduct;

    • An explanation of the role of the institution in response to:

      • A violation of the sexual misconduct policy; or

      • A report of an incident of sexual misconduct.

    • Procedures for investigating reports of sexual misconduct, which must:

      • Be fair, impartial, and prompt, and the institution must make a good faith effort to complete an investigation or adjudicative process, excluding any appeals, within an average of 60 to 90 days, without jeopardizing the rights of a complainant or responding party;

      • Include the preponderance of the evidence as the evidentiary standard when a student is the respondent;

      • Outline the procedures for the investigation and adjudication process, which must specify that all questions go through the official individual or individuals conducting or participating in the investigation process;

      • Provide the complainant and the responding party with the same opportunities to have an advisor or other person present during any part of the proceeding, except that the advisor or other person cannot speak on behalf of the complainant or responding party during the course of the proceedings;

      • Provide regular written updates on the status of the investigation or proceeding to the complainant and responding party throughout the process until conclusion; and

      • Provide for concurrent notification of the outcome of the investigation or proceeding to the complainant and responding party.

    • Prohibitions on:

      • The consideration of prior, irrelevant sexual conduct, except relating to a prior relationship or history between the parties if relevant; and

      • Any action considered retaliatory under Title IX;

    • Protection from disciplinary action against a complainant, reporting part, or witness for their participation in the reporting or investigation and from policy violations related to the incident such as intoxication; and

    • That all provisions of the sexual misconduct policy be applied equally to both parties.

  • Requires each institution to provide information to students on how to receive support after a sexual misconduct experience, on or before August 1, 2020 (Sec. 1).

  • Requires each institution, on or before August 1, 2020, to promote awareness and prevention of sexual misconduct and the institution’s sexual misconduct policy on its website and through electronic or other means of communication (Sec. 1).

  • Requires each institution to offer annual training to all incoming students and recently employed faculty and staff, on how to promote awareness and prevention of sexual misconduct and the institution’s sexual misconduct policy (Sec. 1).

  • Requires the Department to host biennial summits on sexual misconduct on institution campuses in order to facilitate communication, share information, and hear from experts, starting on or before August 1, 2020, which is subject to available appropriations (Sec. 1).

  • Establishes in the Department the Sexual Misconduct Advisory Committee for the purpose of making recommendations to the general assembly and to institutions of higher education regarding sexual misconduct policies and methods to reduce sexual misconduct at institutions of higher education, specifically (Sec. 1):

    • How to handle incidents of sexual misconduct occurring outside of the programs, activities, or property of an institution;

    • How to conduct cross-examination of parties and witnesses at hearings;

    • Whether a standard of reasonableness should be included in an institution’s sexual misconduct policy; and

    • Can and should institutions of higher education have higher standards than required by federal law and regulation.

  • Requires the advisory committee to submit a report to the education committees of the senate and house of representatives, or any successor committees, on or before January 15, 2021, and each January 15 afterwards (Sec. 1).

  • Repeals this section September 1, 2023 (Sec. 1).

  • Repeals the statutory authorizations for the designated advisory committees September 1, 2023. 

  • Establishes that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety (Sec. 3).

Title: Establishes Standards for Sexual Misconduct Policies at Higher Education Institutions

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