Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is holding colleges and universities to a higher standard by mandating a new response to sexual assault crimes.
The Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act went into effect on Aug. 1 and addresses how colleges and universities are now required to handle sexual assault cases.
Madigan released the details of the new standards in a press release on Aug. 23.
The law states that Illinois colleges and universities are required to have to a detailed policy that clearly identifies response guidelines, informs student survivors of their rights, develops a process for proceeding with allegations, educates students and faculty on how to prevent sexual violence and makes it possible for students to report information electronically, confidentially or anonymously.
“As another school year begins, Illinois students should be focused on going to college to learn and not to be derailed by sexual assault,” Madigan stated in the press release. “This new law ensures anyone who experiences a sexual assault is heard, protected and supported.”
To enforce the act, it will be mandatory for colleges to submit updates on sexual assault reports, the outcomes of cases and any awareness programs the school holds, starting in November 2017, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Loyola’s protocol for responding to sexual assault violence already follows the new law, according to the Assistant Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator Rabia Khan Harvey.
“A few of my colleagues and myself helped contribute to the house bill when it was being written, so many of the anticipated changes were already implemented in our gender-based misconduct policies and protocol last year before the bill was passed,” wrote Khan Harvey in an email to The Phoenix.
Loyola’s policy guidelines follow the new act and include laying out survivors’ rights, having a confidential reporting system and providing a list of advocates for survivors to contact, according to Loyola’s Community Standards section 409 Gender Based Misconduct and Discrimination.
The university’s approach to handling survivor outreach, reported incidents and the investigation process also align with Madigan’s policy standards.