There shall be established a task force on sexual assault on college campuses, hereinafter referred to as the task force. The task force shall be co-chaired by designees of the Commissioner of Higher Education, the Attorney General, and the Commissioner of Public Health. In addition to the co-chairs, the task force shall include a representative chosen by the Jane Doe Institute (JDI), a representative chosen by the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), a representative chosen by the Center for Hope and Healing (CHH) in Lowell, a representative chosen by Fenway Health’s Violence Recovery Program (VRP), a representative chosen by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM), the Senate President or his designee, and the Speaker of the House or his designee.
The task force shall develop a sexual assault climate survey to be issued to college students across Massachusetts with the goal of determining the prevalence and perceptions of sexual assault on college campuses. The role of the task force in implementing the aforementioned climate survey shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (i) designing the survey questions and mode of implementation; (ii) determining which colleges shall receive the survey; (iii) consulting college officials in order to optimize the survey; and (iv) any other necessary role determined by the task force.
The survey shall be fully anonymous and shall not include any personally identifiable information. The task force shall develop the survey using best practices from peer-reviewed research measuring sexual violence and harassment. The survey shall be designed to gather, to the possible, information about, but not be limited to, the following topics: (i) the incidence and prevalence of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking; (ii) students’ knowledge of institutional policies and procedures; (iii) if victims reported the violence, to whom did they report, what response did they receive, and were they were informed of, or referred to, local, State, on-campus, or national resources; (iv) contextual factors, such as whether force, incapacitation, or coercion was involved; (v) demographic factors that could be used to identify at-risk groups; and (v) whether the assailants were students. The task force shall develop the survey not more than 1 year after the task force is first convened.
The Commissioner of Higher Education shall require colleges and universities, as deemed necessary by the task force, to ensure that an adequate, random, and representative sample of students enrolled at the institution completes the climate survey not later than 1 year after the task force has developed the final survey. In addition to the standardized questions developed by the task force, institutions completing the survey may request additional information from students that would increase the institutions’ understanding of school climate factors unique to their campuses.
Each four-year college identified by the task force shall provide the individual responses to the campus climate survey to the task force within 90 days of the administration of the survey. The task force shall analyze the sexual assault incident data and shall publish a report based on the data, their deliberations, and any hearings they may conduct. The report shall be made available for comment to participating colleges and universities as well as the Association for Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts (AICUM) at least 30 days prior to publication, and the task force shall consider revisions to the report in response to suggestions and concerns raised by participating colleges. After revisions have been finalized, the task force shall file the report with the Commissioner of Higher Education.
Following the filing of the report, the task force shall convene to determine future steps. These steps may include, but not be limited to: (i) revising and modifying the original climate survey as the task force deems necessary; (ii) determining that a similar survey shall be implemented repeatedly, at an interval to be determined by the task force; (iii) making recommendations for interventions to reduce the likelihood of sexual assault based on the results of the survey; or (iv) any additional further steps deemed necessary by the task force.
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.