Congress aims to hold campus sexual assault offenders accountable

8 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago Friday, December 09 2016 Dec 9, 2016 Friday, December 09, 2016 3:25:00 PM CST December 09, 2016 in Top Stories
By: Abby Breidenbach, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - Many students worry their peers won't pay appropriately for a sexual misconduct offense. A bill being introduced to Congress might calm their nerves.

Right now, if a student is expelled for sexual misconduct, in every state, apart from Virginia and New York, there is nothing requiring documentation of the discipline on a transcript. 

"The act itself is appalling, but what I think is more appalling is what happens afterward," said an MU student, Katie Goodwin.

She doesn't think sexual attackers are being punished as severely as they should for their actions.

"If a new school or a new job has to know that a student cheats on his tests, they should know that he has a history of violating his peers," Goodwin said.

Her fear is a recurring theme in which one attacker moves from school to school after expulsion, committing the same offenses everywhere. She said she thinks this bill could stop those people in their tracks before harming multiple victims.

This bill, introduced by a California representative, would make it so a student's transcript had to state if he or she was expelled because of sexual misconduct. This way the student could not have a clean slate when looking to apply to a new school or for entry-level jobs. 

Kate Marxkors is a volunteer at True North, a local women's shelter. She said that victims are often more comfortable going to a campus official than to law enforcement, and this bill could punish those who were not brought in court.

One student, Thomas Martin, addressed the possible negative impacts on an attacker's future. 

"This could possible ruin their lives. It might make people less likely to hire them down the road, but they decided to ruin somebody else's life already," said Martin.

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