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Gillibrand, Republicans push for campus sex assault bill

WASHINGTON – Senators from both parties – led by Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y. – pushed their colleagues Tuesday to quickly pass a bipartisan bill aimed at curbing sexual assaults on campus.

The Campus Accountability and Safety Act, introduced last year by Gillibrand, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and other lawmakers, now has 35 cosponsors, including 12 Republicans. That being the case, lawmakers from both parties appeared together at a press conference in hopes of pushing the bill to passage.

“Some schools, like the SUNY system in New York, have shown leadership by acknowledging that sexual assault is a problem on their campuses, and they’re beginning to fight it,” Gillibrand said. “But most colleges are stuck in defensive mode, and won’t even admit they have a problem because they’re afraid their application numbers will drop, or because they just don’t take these assaults seriously.”

The bill would ensure that college staffs receive training in how to address sexual assault cases. In addition, it would require a uniform disciplinary process and coordination with law enforcement.