A group of U.S. senators recently announced – with much fanfare, pomp and circumstance – the Campus Safety and Accountability Act for the expressed purpose of fighting “sexual assaults on college and university campuses by protecting and empowering students, and strengthening accountability and transparency for institutions.”
According to the press release from one senator, the bill will…
1. Require colleges to “designate Confidential Advisors who will serve as a confidential resource for victims of assaults committed against a student” (after the assault has taken place).
2. Provide training to college personnel on how to handle “sexual assault investigations and disciplinary processes” (after the sexual assault has taken place).
3. Require colleges to conduct a survey of students “about their experience with sexual violence to get an accurate picture of this problem” (after sexual assaults have taken place).
4. Require colleges “to use a uniform process for campus disciplinary proceedings” and “enter into memoranda of understanding with all applicable local law enforcement agencies to clearly delineate responsibilities and share information” (after sexual assaults have taken place).
5. Imposes penalties on colleges “that don’t comply with certain requirements under the bill” (after sexual assaults have taken place).
“We should never accept the fact that women are at a greater risk of sexual assault as soon as they step onto a college campus,” declared Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). “Students deserve real safety and accountability instead of empty promises.”
“To curb these crimes,” added Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), “students need to be protected and empowered.”
But, um, did you notice what’s missing in the bill? Yep, provisions to, you know, actually “protect and empower” students to prevent sexual assault in the first place!
Specifically, a requirement that all colleges and universities allow students with valid concealed carry permits to carry their weapons on campus for self-defense. Such a provision would end the insane practice of disarming responsible, adult concealed-carry holders the minute they step onto a college or university campus.
Concealed carry permit holders such as Amanda Collins who was forced to leave her legally registered weapon at home rather than have it with her when James Biela brutally raped her on the parking garage floor at the University of Nevada Reno (UNR) in 2007.
Had Collins been “empowered” to carry her weapon for self-defense, maybe she would have been able to prevent the sexual assault, negating any need for hiring “Confidential Advisors” and filling out a lot of “accountability” paperwork.
Indeed, the Campus Safety and Accountability Act is all about closing the proverbial barn door after the horse is already out and nothing about providing safety before the fact.
On the other hand, the bill will certainly make a lot of people feel good. And, heck, isn’t that what Congress is really all about anyway?