Gatto became interested in the subject after Occidental College failed to report dozens of sexual assault allegations in 2010 and 2011, which he suspects was to improve their image. Several others have also faced investigations and lawsuits recently for failing to disclose information about crimes that happen on or near campuses, a requirement under the federal Clery Act. "That's a really poor excuse to fail to investigate a crime like rape. We want to make sure administrations can't keep stuff hush hush in hopes of making it seem like a school is safe than it really is."
Gatto's legislation will not require campus law enforcement agencies to report rapes to police if the victim specifically requests that they do not report it. Gatto added this exception after discussing the bill with rape survivor and UC Berkeley student, Sofie Karasek, who advised him that the survivor's wishes should be taken into account and respected. Many survivors do not want to report a rape to police because of the stressful reporting and trial process, fear of being blamed or disbelieved, or discomfort with the police, particularly for undocumented students.
If universities do not comply with the new requirements, they can be held liable for damages for negligence.
Media Resources: Newsweek 1/6/14; Examiner 1/8/14; Feminist Newswire 9/16/13, 12/11/13
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .