State by State

As filmmakers, it is always our goal to focus on topics that will generate awareness—and The Hunting Ground has achieved far more than we ever hoped. We’ve contacted and educated every governor, worked with dozens of NGO partners and screened the film at more than 1,000 college campuses. Since its debut, our film has been cited as an inspiration for action by the White House with ItsOnUs.org, governors, legislators and leaders in higher education, as well as thousands of students who are fighting to end campus sexual assault.

Survivors all across the country have spoken out and made their stories known, giving the epidemic of sexual assault on campuses an unprecedented amount of attention. Moreover, people have seen there’s a problem and begun to act, bringing about real progress, including approved legislation or pending legislation in 16 states.

Together we can make an impact. See the progress so far:

LEGEND

 Activism
 Pending Legislation
 Approved Legislation

( ) Activism

( ) Pending Legislation

Washington, DC

President Obama and Vice President Biden joined leaders from universities, media companies and grassroots organizations to launch the “It’s On Us” campaign against sexual assault on college campuses. In 2014 alone, students launched “It’s On Us” campaigns at more than 300 schools and hosted more than 650 “It’s On Us” events. Each semester, the campaign holds a National Week of Action, where thousands of young people from across the country host and participate in local events spurring action designed to raise awareness. Following a screening of The Hunting Ground at the White House, the “It’s On Us” campaign used the film as a tool to help educate the nation on the campus sexual assault epidemic we’re currently facing.

The Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA) is a bill currently pending in the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives with the goal of reducing sexual violence on college and university campuses. EROC’s Annie and Andrea advised on the bill and it was introduced by Senator Claire McCaskill, along with nine cosponsors. CASA will increase transparency and cooperation between schools and local law enforcement.

Campus Accountability and Safety Act S.B. 590 (2015)

( ) Approved Legislation

California

In 2014, California garnered widespread attention when Governor Jerry Brown signed the nation’s first affirmative consent standard for colleges to use in campus sexual assault cases. The legislation made “yes means yes” the consent standard on college campuses. The law established that consent is a voluntary, affirmative, conscious, agreement to engage in sexual activity, that it can be revoked at any time, that a previous relationship does not constitute consent, and that coercion or threat of force can also not be used to establish consent. This law empowers colleges and universities to hold perpetrators accountable for assaulting individuals who were either asleep or incapacitated by alcohol or drugs. The legislation also requires preventative education during student orientation, increased access to counseling resources and training for adjudication panels. In addition, affirmative consent and comprehensive information for grades 9 to 12 on sexual harassment and violence.

Affirmative consent – S.B. 695 (2015) S.B. 967 (2014) & Law enforcement – A.B. 913 (2015) A.B. 1433 (2014)

( ) Approved Legislation

New York

In 2015, New York signed into law an aggressive policy to fight sexual assault on college campuses. The new “Enough is Enough” legislation requires all public and private colleges in New York to adopt a set of comprehensive procedures and guidelines, including a uniform definition of affirmative consent, a statewide amnesty policy, and expanded access to law enforcement. The law adds a statewide definition of affirmative consent on college campuses as a way to protect victims, as well as new safeguards to help ensure crimes are reported and handled by police. Governor Cuomo credited The Hunting Ground—which he screened twice for New York state legislators—for helping get the law passed.

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Affirmative consent & Law enforcement & Transcript Notation – A.B. 8244 (2015)

( ) Activism

Alaska

The head of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Mike Powers, admitted his school had not handled sexual assault cases well—and apologized for it. He launched an internal investigation on top of the Title IX compliance review being done by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Powers said he was motivated in part to send the apology after he watched The Hunting Ground, explaining that the film, which follows sexual assault survivors who turned into activists after schools handled their cases inappropriately, helped him “understand emotionally what is happening across the nation. I would say that was a very influential mechanism to help really shock us into understanding how the nation is perceiving this issue.”

( ) Pending Legislation

( ) Approved Legislation

Connecticut

In 2015, Connecticut’s House and Senate unanimously passed a campus sexual assault bill and now colleges across the state of Connecticut are required, under law, to report all incidences of sexual assault on campuses and how they responded to it. The act requires all institutions of higher education to immediately provide concise written notification to victims of their rights and options under the institution’s policies. It also requires all institutions of higher education to enter into a MOU (memorandum of understanding) with at least one sexual assault crisis service center and one community-based domestic violence agency and to create campus resource teams. This year, the General Assembly is considering a new bill An Act Concerning Affirmative Consent and Consent for the Care and Treatment of College Students who are the Victim of Sexual Assault. The bill has made it out of the Higher Education Committee and is awaiting further action.

S.B. 636 (2015) H.B. 5029 (2015) H.B. 5376 (2016)

( ) Activism
( ) Pending Legislation

Delaware

The University of Delaware created a website to serve as a hub for information about gender-based violence, featuring basic information about the school’s policies and prevention efforts. The site lists different options for reporting assaults and includes a comprehensive list of resources for victims of sexual assault. This bill would give more power to the victim because the employee would only tell police if the victim wanted them to do so. Also, the employee would have to inform the victim immediately that that was the case and that it was up to them whether police get involved. Under the bill, state institutions would have to report to the General Assembly annual sexual assault data including how they were handled by staff. The bill also outlines penalties for schools that don’t meet certain benchmarks for teaching staff and students about the rules and resources for victims.

H.B. 1 (2016)

( ) Approved Legislation

Hawaii

In 2015, Hawaii passed a senate bill that established an affirmative consent task force to review and make recommendations on the University of Hawaii’s executive policy on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

S.B. 387 (2015)

( ) Approved Legislation

Illinois

In 2015, The Illinois house passed the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act bill defining consent. The bill calls for creating a confidential adviser role, requiring each college or university to establish a task force to ensure a coordinated response to sexual violence reports.

H.B. 821 (2015)

( ) Approved Legislation

Indiana

In 2016, Indiana unanimously passed a bill aimed at increasing transparency for police forces at private universities. The bill was authored by Representative Pat Bauer, who says he was driven to introduce the bill after watching The Hunting Ground, which includes a look at Notre Dame sexual assault cases.

H.B. 1233 (2016)

( ) Activism

Maine

In 2014, The University of Maine Board of Trustees approved a new policy aimed at reducing cases of on-campus sexual assault by establishing an affirmative consent, joining the “yes means yes” movement.

( ) Activism

( ) Pending Legislation

Maryland

In 2016, College students and lawmakers gathered in support of House Bill 1142, which would require all colleges and universities to adopt an “affirmative consent policy” in how they define sexual assault. According to the bill, a ”yes means yes” standard would mean consent cannot be given if someone is intoxicated, under coercion or unconscious. EROC has helped champion this bill, calling for it to send a strong message to the state legislature, telling them to say yes to affirmative consent.
H.B. 1142 (2016)

( ) Pending Legislation

( ) Approved Legislation

Massachusetts

The need to acquire data surrounding sexual assault on college campuses is reflected in a 2015 bill to create a sexual assault climate survey for all Massachusetts colleges and universities. If enacted, the bill would create a task force to design a sexual assault climate survey to be administered by all Massachusetts colleges and universities, and would mandate that each college and university produce a report on its findings. Having a survey that is streamlined across the board would allow for more accurate comparisons between schools. EROC’s Sofie Karasek testified at the House in support of survivors and, alongside RISE, they submitted evidence to the committee of the nationwide rape kit backlog, as well as the prevalence of institutional betrayal in criminal justice and campus contexts. Representative Christine Barber says that state legislators have been part of conversations at the Massachusetts State House about the issue of sexual assault on college campuses through briefings from faculty at Massachusetts colleges, as well as through a screening The Hunting Ground. She said she hopes that this awareness can translate into policy change.

H.B. 1278 (2015) & S.B. 650 (2015)

( ) Activism

Michigan

Michigan has awarded $500,000 in grant money to help 22 universities, colleges and community colleges to prevent sexual assault. Proposals and initiatives include plans to implement enhanced bystander training programs, place emphasis on student participation, encourage collaboration with local bars and businesses and create networks aiming to improve access to assault prevention resources.

( ) Approved Legislation

New Jersey

A bill establishing a task force to study and make recommendations concerning campus sexual assault was passed unanimously by the New Jersey state Senate in 2015. The 12-member panel would include representatives from colleges, law enforcement, the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and include four public members with at least one individual who is a campus sexual assault survivor.

A.B. 4156 (2015)

( ) Activism

( ) Approved Legislation

Oregon

In 2015, Oregon passed a bill that would help assure sexual assault survivors that if they sought help, information, or safety-planning assistance from certified advocates, those conversations would be kept private. This bill puts the decision over whether to make an assault public where it should be—in the hands of the survivor.

H.B. 3476 (2015)

( ) Activism

Pennsylvania

In 2015, The Pennsylvania Commission for Women joined the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education to host a screening of the documentary “The Hunting Ground” followed by a panel discussion. In 2016, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a statewide campaign building off of the White House’s “It’s On Us” initiative, called “It’s On Us PA.” It’s the first statewide campaign to address the crisis of sexual assault in schools and on college campuses.

( ) Approved Legislation

Rhode Island

In 2015, lawmakers submitted a new broadly-worded bill that would require institutions of higher learning to report incidents of sexual assault on campus to law enforcement agencies. After meeting with colleges, law enforcement authorities and victims’ advocates, legislators now believe the bill should be amended to be more sensitive to victims’ rights.

H.B. 5034 (2015)

( ) Pending Legislation
( ) Approved Legislation

Virginia

In the past two years, three bills went into effect to make sure colleges do not sweep sexual assault reports under the rug. The legislation deals with reporting requirements by universities and police departments, requiring that campus safety officials be part of a threat assessment team formed after a student reports sexual assault. EROC’s representatives stood alongside Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn to announce the passing of two critical pieces of legislation written, in part, by EROC. H.B. 1102 requires the Department of Criminal Justice Services to develop multidisciplinary curricula on trauma-informed sexual assault investigation. This legislation is essential for the treatment of survivors and the success of assault investigations. H.B. 659 requires that family life education curriculum include age-appropriate elements concerning the prevention of dating violence, domestic abuse, sexual harassment and sexual violence.

S.B. 712 (2015) H.B. 659 (2016) H.B. 1102 (2015)

( ) Pending Legislation

Wisconsin

This bill will allow bystanders and survivors of sexual assault to come forward and report this crime without fear of an underage drinking ticket. The bill prohibits an underage person who has been sexually assaulted or who assists a friend who has been assaulted from being cited for underage drinking or facing disciplinary action by the UW-System for underage drinking when coming forward to law enforcement or campus authorities. The protection extends to all under-age people in the state of Wisconsin. The legislation was drafted in close consultation with the Department of Justice and with victim advocates. It is broadly supported by university officials and law enforcement. Assembly Bill 808 now awaits executive action by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.

A.B. 808 (2015)

Inquiries

Lawmakers considering drafting college sexual assault legislation may contact End Rape On Campus, an experienced non-profit that has helped draft legislation for the US Senate and the states of California, New York, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Oregon.