The issue of how universities handle sexual assault allegations has roiled campuses nationwide, including Baylor University where students staged a protest last summer. Now, the Georgia Legislature is considering a bill to essentially strip its public colleges of the ability to investigate assault allegations, mandating instead that police handle investigations. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald, via AP)

Sexual assault survivor: Legislature ignores our concerns about bill

A bill limiting the ability of Georgia’s public colleges to investigate and punish rapes on campus is moving through the Georgia House, to the dismay of victims of sexual assault.

One of them is law student Grace Starling who explains today in the AJC Get Schooled blog why House Bill 51 threatens victims. “This bill would make Georgia universities dangerous for students who have been raped. By stripping universities of their ability to respond to sexual misconduct on college campuses – including disciplining offenders – students like myself would lose access to the services and supports that allow us to continue our education,” she says.

Starling says lawmakers have limited the input of students who have suffered assaults, writing, “Public testimony against the bill has been limited, with hundreds of survivors denied the chance to speak.”

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, contends it ensures the rights of college students accused of sexual assault while also protecting the privacy of victims.“House Bill 51 is about due process, safety on our campuses … and rights of the accused,” said Ehrhart, a Republican from Powder Springs.

To read more, go to the AJC Get Schooled blog.

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