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Federal guidelines issued to fight campus sexual violence

Vice President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan issue new guidelines for colleges to prevent and respond to sexual violence

April 05, 2011|By Julie Mianecki, Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington — Schools must do more to prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus, Vice President Joe Biden said Monday as he introduced new federal guidelines to combat the problem.

"Students across the country deserve the safest possible environment in which to learn," Biden said. "That's why we're taking new steps to help our nation's schools, universities and colleges end the cycle of sexual violence on campus."

Biden was joined by Education Secretary Arne Duncan at the University of New Hampshire, which was chosen because of its highly regarded efforts in sexual violence prevention.

Under the Education Department guidelines, schools informed about sexual harassment or violence must take immediate action to stop the abuse and prevent it from happening again. Regardless of whether a victim files a complaint, the school must investigate the incident, even if a criminal investigation is underway.

Schools must also have sex discrimination policies in place and an employee responsible for managing the institution's compliance with Title IX, the law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs. Sexual violence is included in the definition of that discrimination. Finally, schools must make procedures for filing complaints based on Title IX violations clearly available.

Almost 20% of women and 6% of men are likely to be victims of attempted or actual sexual assault while in college, according to an Education Department report.

julie.mianecki@latimes.com

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