Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, immediate past chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, has announced plans to introduce a Campus Sexual Assault Legislative Package.

“Sexual violence is a devastating problem that impacts the lives of women, men and children,” Williams said. “These crimes often go unreported on college campuses; in large part due to the victim’s belief that authorities will not take action. We must ensure that our campuses are investigating crimes, prosecuting perpetrators, and providing support and resources to victims.”

Last year, Williams held three roundtable discussions at University of California campuses throughout the state in response to reports on campus sexual assault. From those discussions, Williams will propose the following Campus Sexual Assault Legislative Package:

» 1. College campus adjudication process must consider suspension for at least two years up to expulsion if the individual is found guilty of sexual assault. This legislation would also require campuses to report and disclose adjudication outcomes for sexual assault crimes.

» 2. Requires the university academic transcripts to include a notation if the student is found guilty of committing sexual assault.

» 3. Clarify existing statute to allow California Community Colleges to suspend or expel a student for conduct that threatened the safety of students and/or the public that occur off campus. Additionally, the bill would require a hearing before the governing board to determine whether to enroll the student if they were dismissed previously from an institution for sexual assaults.

An estimated one in five women and one in seven men will experience a sexual assault during their college career. In the vast majority of these assaults, the perpetrator and the victim know each other. Research suggests that less than 5 percent of these incidents are reported to law enforcement.

Williams will continue to bring together a coalition of stakeholders, students, community leaders and elected officials to address the severity of this problem through legislation.

— Anett Hurtado is a field representative for Assemblyman Das Williams.