Students: Colleges and Universities

No matter how old you are, there are state and federal laws designed to protect you if someone has physically or sexually hurt you, threatened you or put you in fear and is interfering with your right to access education.

Federal Laws

Title IX, the Clery Act and the Campus SaVE Act, guarantee students…

  • a right to education free from sexual violence, harassment and sex discrimination.

  • a right to gender expression free from institutional or personal harassment for students in a school, program, or school related activities that receive any federally funds.

  • protection from abuse to ensure that their educational experience is not interrupted or compromised should violence occur.

Collectively, these laws and policies make clear that educational institutions have a responsibility to create an environment where students are safe from violence.

Under the Trump Administration, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued new regulations that we believe will undermine the effectiveness of Title IX to prevent gender discrimination, including gender-based violence on campuses and not offer necessary protections and accommodations for those who experience sexual violence and harassment.

On March 8, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity. 

Since April 2021, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights launched a comprehensive review of Title IX regulations to fulfill President Biden’s Executive Order guaranteeing an educational environment free from sex discrimination. The National Women’s Law Center has developed a resource to help survivors learn more about available options. 

Stay tuned for more developments on the federal response to the rights of student survivors of gender-based violence.

Massachusetts Laws

On January 12, 2021, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the Campus Sexual Violence Act. This landmark law marks one of the first laws in Massachusetts dedicated to addressing sexual violence on college and university campuses. The Campus Sexual Violence Act, or Ch. 337, includes five key provisions:

1. Requires colleges and universities to establish institutional policies on sexual misconduct and requires training for staff and faculty involved in implementing an institution’s disciplinary process.

2. Requires institutions to conduct an anonymous sexual misconduct climate survey of all students every 4 years. A summary of results are to be posted to the institution’s webiste.

3. Requires institutions to designate a confidential resource provider (CRP). A CRP is separate and distinct from a Title IX coordinator or anyone required to report to the Title IX coordinator. A CRP can give you information about your rights, available services and resources on and off campus, and reporting options without triggering a formal report about the incident. A CRP also has confidentiality meaning they cannot share your information without your permission.

4. Requires institutions to enter into memoranda of understanding with local sexual and domestic violence service providers. The intent is to provide an off-campus alternative for survivors to access free and confidential counseling, advocacy services and resources.

5. Requires institutions to provide mandatory annual sexual misconduct primary prevention and awareness programming for all students and employees.

You Are Not Alone

Find Help On Campus

  • Speak with your institution’s Confidential Resource Provider. The contact information for your institutions CRP should be available on your school website.

Find Help In Your Community 

  • Use JDIs Find Help function to locate your nearest community-based sexual or domestic violence program.

Connect With Advocates

  • The Every Voice Coalition, founded by Massachusetts students, brings together students and survivors, community organizations, and universities to combat campus sexual violence by passing student and survivor-written legislation on the state-level.

Find Help

No one deserves to be abused or assaulted. No matter what you have been told, what happened to you isn’t your fault. Whether this experience happened recently or in the past, you can call a rape crisis center or a domestic violence program to get the support that you need. Trained advocates provide free and confidential support, connect you with resources, and respect your decisions.

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