This week, New Jersey legislators by a vote of 77-0 Assembly Bill 1763, which would establish a Campus Sexual Assault Commission in the Department of State.
This commission will consist of 12 people: the Secretary of Higher Education, the Attorney General, and the Director of the Division on Women in the Department of Children and Families, or their designees; five public members appointed by Gov. Phil Murphy, including one from state colleges and universities, one from a public research university, one from a county colleges, one from an independent college, and one from the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
The commission will include four public members with demonstrated expertise or interest in issues related to the work of the commission, including at least one person who is a campus sexual assault survivor. The president of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly, the Minority Leader of the Senate, and the Minority Leader of the General Assembly would each appoint one of these public members. Public members would serve for a term of three years.
The New Jersey Senate approved the bill on Jan. 31, 2019. After its Dec. 16 approval in the Assembly, the legislation is now heading to Gov. Phil Murphy.
The legislators behind the measure say the Campus Sexual Assault Commission would further the work of the Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault.
Assemblywomen Annette Quijano, D-20th District; Mila Jasey, D-27th District; and Eliana Pintor Marin, D-29th District, sponsored the bill.
“A staggering 11.2 percent of graduate and undergraduate students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, according to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network,” Quijano said in a statement. “We need to do more to reduce incidents of sexual violence, starting with assessing how allegations are investigated, holding abusers accountable and ensuring survivors have the support they need.”
The legislators say the task force would be required to: study and evaluate emerging issues, and practices concerning campus sexual assault; monitor the response to, and implementation of, the recommendations put forth in the report; supplement the findings and recommendations of the report; develop and administer a campus climate survey every three years; develop an action plan every three years that includes policies, programs, or procedures responsive to the issues and needs identified in the campus climate survey.
Rutgers University spokeswoman Dory Devlin told NJBIZ that Rutgers was instrumental in promoting the legislation that was enacted.
“We are among the national leaders in researching and addressing sexual assault,” Devlin said. “We look forward to working with the commission to continue New Jersey’s important and impactful work in this area.”