In Letter To Senate Appropriators, Blumenthal, Colleagues Urge Increased Funding For Campus Sexual Assault Prevention Programs

(Washington, DC) – In a letter to Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) – joined by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) – today urged the committee to honor President Obama’s request for $11 million to fund the Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking on Campus Grant Program as the committee prepares FY2015 spending bills.

“The report released by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault that offers clarification from the U.S. Department of Education on schools’ responsibilities under Title IX is an important step towards an appropriate federal response to this issue. However, as institutions are asked to respond to these recommendations, it is imperative that they have adequate resources to change administrative policies and improve enforcement efforts.

“We ask that you provide $11 million in funding for the Campus grant program so that the DOJ can assist as many schools as possible, including new grant applicants, in the nationwide effort to combat sexual assault on campuses.”

Blumenthal has been a leader on efforts to combat sexual assault on college campuses. After the President announced his Task Force To Protect Students From Sexual Assault, Blumenthal hosted seven roundtables at colleges and universities across Connecticut to hear from students, administrators, rape counselors, medical personnel and parents. Blumenthal will release the findings from those roundtables in the days ahead.

The full text of the letter can be found below and is attached.

April 30, 2014

The Honorable Barbara Mikulski
Chairman
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice,
Science, and Related Agencies
Senate Committee on Appropriations
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Richard Shelby
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice,Science, and Related Agencies
Senate Committee on Appropriations
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Mikulski and Ranking Member Shelby,

As your subcommittee drafts the FY2015 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill, we write to urge you to fully fund the President’s request of $11 million for the Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking on Campus Grant Program (Campus), administered by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).

The federal government must do everything it can to help schools eradicate the national epidemic of sexual assault on campuses. It is simply unacceptable that one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college. The report released by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault that offers clarification from the U.S. Department of Education on schools’ responsibilities under Title IX is an important step towards an appropriate federal response to this issue. However, as institutions are asked to respond to these recommendations, it is imperative that they have adequate resources to change administrative policies and improve enforcement efforts. The Campus grant program is a vitally important tool that must be used in this effort. However, DOJ was only able to offer continuation grants in Fiscal Year 2014, which prevented schools who wanted to undertake new initiatives from applying for these funds. We know that schools across the country have used this Campus grant program to successfully start sexual violence prevention programs that have been continued beyond the life of the grant because the school recognized the immeasurable value of supporting the programs created from the original grant. These grants must be continued and it is essential that other schools have that same opportunity going forward.

We ask that you provide $11 million in funding for the Campus grant program so that the DOJ can assist as many schools as possible, including new grant applicants, in the nationwide effort to combat sexual assault on campuses. Thank you for your attention to our request.