LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A legislative committee unanimously passed a bill today that would require colleges to report sexual assaults, hate crimes and other violent campus crimes to local law enforcement.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, sponsored AB1433 after some California colleges were accused of covering up on-campus sexual assaults to keep their crime statistics low.
USC and OccidentalCollege officials disclosed in October they underreported the number of sexual assaults in 2010 and 2011.
At USC, officials told the Los Angeles Times that they had failed to report 13 such assaults during that time period, bringing the total for those years to 39. Occidental officials acknowledged they failed to include 24 sexual assault reports, bringing its total to 26 for the same period, according to The Times report.
Those schools are among several nationwide that have been accused of underreporting crimes, are the target of federal investigators or face lawsuits by students. A White House task force on campus sexual assault is poised to make recommendations this week.
“Victims of crime should not see their chances of justice hurt, nor should perpetrators be allowed to victimize others because a school values its public image more than victims' rights,” Gatto said.
Under federal law, campus officials must provide crime statistics in an annual Clery Act report.
If passed by the Legislature, AB1433 would require up-to-date disclosure of on-campus crime upon request by students, prospective students, employees and members of the media.
“Crimes that occur on campus should not be treated any differently than those that occur elsewhere in our community,” Gatto said.