Washington State Legislature Establishes Standards for Campus Rape Cases

The Washington State Legislature has set standards for colleges in handling complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence. It did so in response to news that more than 90 colleges and universities across the United States are under investigation by the federal government for Title IX violations.

Title IX is the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.

Senate Bill 5518 establishes minimum standards for Washington institutions to ensure compliance with the federal law. The law aims to prevent retaliation against those who complain of sexual harassment or sexual violence on campus, and to prevent them from having to undergo unnecessary re-tellings of incidents of sexual violence.

All institutions must make policies and procedures for handling complaints of sexual violence and sexual harassment.

SB 5518 seems to require equal treatment of all accused of campus sexual violence. For instance, the law forbids a college from establishing different disciplinary processes based on characteristics or status of the person involved in the incident. This means schools cannot handle a complaint differently because the accused is a member of an athletic team, a sorority, or a fraternity.