Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5029

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING SEXUAL ASSAULT AND INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE ON CAMPUS.

Vote Date:

3/13/2014

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/11/2014

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To more fully promote education and awareness programs relating to the reporting of sexual assault and intimate partner violence with services and responses in and around the campuses of our state's colleges and universities.

SUBSTITUE LANGUAGE:

In lines 9 – 14 deleted “and incidences of sexual assault and intimate partner violence, as such terms are defined in section 10a-55m, as amended by this act, committed in the immediately preceding calendar year against a student or employee of such institution, regardless of where such incidences occurred.”

Line 14 of the original bill is now in line 9 of the substitute language.

Lines 20 – 24 of the original bill are deleted “, and every incidence of intimate partner violence that was reported to the state police, local police department, a member of the institution of higher education's special police force established pursuant to section 10a-156b or campus security personnel”

Added in lines 16-17 of the substitute language: “stalking under sections 53a-181c, 53a-181d and 53a-181e and family violence under section 46b-38h.”

Line 33 of the original bill, line 27 of the substitute language, after the “,” add the word “stalking”.

Line 37 in the substitute language changes the definition of “Bystander intervention”

Line 49 of the substitute language add the definition of “Stalking”.

Line 56 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 59 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 61 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,” and after “,” add “regardless of where such incidences occurred,”

Line 66 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 71 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 77 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 81 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 86 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 89 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 92 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 93 of the substitute language add the word “stalking”

Line 108 of the substitute language add the word “stalking”

Line 110 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 115 of the substitute language add the word “stalking”

Line 116 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 120 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 121 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 126 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 130 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 134 of the substitute language add the word “stalking”

Line 142 of the substitute language add the word “stalking”

Line 146-147 of the original bill after (3) delete “not later than July 1, 2015,”

Line 145 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 147 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 151 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 154 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 157 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 159 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

Line 161 of the substitute language add the word “stalking” after “,”

In Sec. 3 of the substitute language “campus response team” replaces “sexual assault response team.” There are also changes to the make-up of the campus response team vs. the sexual assault response team. Training is no longer “comprehensive” but now includes stalking.

In lines 198 – 209 of the substitute language, after “including,” text is added regarding communicating with victims.

Line 210-218 in the substitute bill is new language regarding the campus response team.

Lines 222 – 223 in the substitute bill, in between “center” on line 222 and “for” on line 223 this wording is added: “and at least one community-based domestic violence agency”

Line 228 of the substitute language after the word “and” add “agency”

Sec. 5 of the substitute language is new.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Susan Herbst, President, University of Connecticut

President Herbst submitted written testimony in support of this bill along with a detailed report submitted by the “President's Task Force on Civility and Campus Culture” that was implemented last summer charging the task force to formulate recommendations to promote and educate the college campus students on sexual violence prevention.

Elizabeth Conklin, Associate Vice President, University of Connecticut

Ms. Conklin submitted written testimony in support of the bill and the legislature's efforts to mandate clear and uniform procedures, response protocols and training. She further states that currently the University is working with the recommendations made by the President's Task Force on Civility and Campus Culture and the implementation of these recommendations already in place, along with policies and procedures, demonstrates the University's commitment to working to eliminate all forms of sexual violence from our campuses and supporting our victim-survivors.

Ernestine Weaver, Counsel, Board of Regents

Attorney Weaver submitted supporting testimony with requested substituted language as follows:

“Sec. 10a-1: There shall be a state system of public higher education to consist of (1) The University of Connecticut and all campuses thereof, (2) the state colleges, which shall be known collectively as the Connecticut State University System, (3) the regional community-technical colleges, (4) the Board for State Academic Awards, and (5) [the staff of the Board of Regents for Higher Education] the Board of Regents for Higher Education consolidated system for the regional community technical colleges. Connecticut State University System and Charter Oak State College as established pursuant to section 1 Oa-1 a. "Constituent units" as used in the general statutes means those units in subdivisions (1) to [(4)] 5, inclusive, of this section. Second, subsection (c) of section 10a-1b requires the Board to appoint a vice-president for each constituent unit. Constituent unit as defined in the state statutes includes the University of Connecticut. In practice, the Board appoints one vice-president for the Connecticut State University system and one for the community college system.

Finally, to clarify powers that exist within Charter Oak State College and powers that are held by the Board and the system office, we have submitted a request to eliminate the use of the term "Board for State Academic Awards." Our request reassigns the powers and responsibilities of the various statutes using this name to either the Board or the College as appropriate.”

Garvin G. Ambrose, Esq., State Victim Advocate, Office of the Victim Advocate

Attorney Ambrose submitted written testimony in support of this bill but suggested three specific ways it could be amended as follows:

Section 2, Line 48 of the proposal be amended to delete the term “domestic violence” and replace it with “family violence”, as defined by C.G.S. Sec. 46b-38a, rather than C.G.S. Sec. 46b-38h.”

Secondly, the OVA recommends the expansion of Subsection (b) of Section 3, which describes the composition and training of campus sexual assault response teams. In its 2012 Findings and Recommendation Report, the Connecticut Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee found that an appropriate cultural and linguistic response to victims was crucial to ensuring that victims had meaningful access to help. Therefore, the OVA recommends that each sexual assault response team be trained to respond to victims of diverse cultural backgrounds, including those with limited English proficiency. Additionally, Subdivision (4) of Subsection (b) requires training in “victim-centered response,” which has not been defined in this proposal. In an effort to ensure the intended purpose is met, the OVA, in collaboration with the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV), offer the following definition:

“Victim-centered approach means the systematic focus on the needs and concerns of a victim of sexual assault or intimate partner violence that (A) ensures the compassionate and sensitive delivery of services in a nonjudgmental manner; (B) ensures an understanding of how victim trauma affects victim behavior; (C) maintains victim safety, privacy and confidentiality; and (D) recognizes that victims are never responsible for the crimes committed against them and that offenders are always responsible for their crimes.”

And, thirdly, he recommends that the proposal further be amended to include the stalking as a standalone, in addition to intimate partner violence and sexual assault.”

In addition to these three specific changes, he also recommends that as part of orientation for incoming freshman that a portion of that orientation be focused and devoted to intimate partner violence prevention and awareness.

R. Thomas Clark, Assistant Counsel, Board of Regents

Attorney Clark submitted written testimony in support although added some additional provisions for consideration as follows:

First, “In Section 2(f) that requires each institution to report “the number of disciplinary cases at the institution related to sexual assault and intimate partner violence resolved through mediation.” He states, “As such, this provision of the Bill conflicts with a federal mandate on the same topic.

Second, “In Section 2(b)(5)(E) of the Bill states that institutions must advise that they “shall not disclose the identity of a victim of the accused, except as necessary to carry out a disciplinary proceeding.” He states, “Again, language again conflicts with federal guidance.

Thirdly, “In Section 2(d), “Each such institution shall notify any such student 09or employee of the institution's obligation under state or federal law, if any, to investigate such assault or violence and the identity of such student or employee.” He states that this may run contrary to the proposed bill.

He further goes on to state in his final comments the differences between the Clery Act's Annual Security Report and the Connecticut's Uniform Campus Crime Report stating that each have conflicting definitions when reporting offenses; and,

Lastly, he concludes with the concern of whether this bill makes appropriate accommodations for all differing campus environments among on-line colleges, community and state universities.

Permanent Commission on the Status of Women submitted written testimony in support of the bill and requested additions be considered and implemented as follows:

● Generally: The federal Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2013 extended the Jeanne Clery Act to include acts of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking to a list of major crimes that all colleges and universities are required to report. H.B. 5029 appears to adhere to federal requirements, however, it is not consistent in identifying both sexual assault and intimate partner violence in the outlined legislation. PCSW suggests that all references include both terms – sexual assault and intimate partner violence.

● Section 2 requires training. PCSW suggests that special police force, campus security personnel, Title IX Coordinators, varsity athletes, fraternities, and sororities be included in the training requirements.

Section 3 requires that each institution of higher education establish a trained campus response team for each of its campuses. PCSW suggests that sexual assault counselors, domestic violence counselors, and Title IX coordinators be included on the response team.

Section 3 requires the development of a “victim-centered response,” however it is not defined. PCSW suggests that it be defined, per the recommendation of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, as:

“Victim-centered response” means the systematic focus on the needs and concerns of a victim of sexual assault or intimate partner violence that (A) ensures the compassionate and sensitive delivery of services in a nonjudgmental manner, (B) ensures an understanding of how victim trauma affects victim behavior, (C) maintains victim safety, privacy and confidentiality, and (D) recognizes that victims are never responsible for the crimes committed against them and that offenders are always responsible for their crimes.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Mae M. Flexer, State Representative, Forty-Fourth Assembly District

Representative Flexer submitted written testimony and testified in support of the bill stating “having a clear policy for how to report these incidents is critical for victims of these crimes to come forward.” She additionally suggested, “that the committee consider requiring in Sec. 2(b) that institutions work with CONNSACS and CCADV member programs to develop a campus specific advocate system and perhaps offices for these agencies on campus.” She further suggested that “representatives from the Women's Center on a campus be included if such a center exists on a campus.”

Mary M. Mushinsky, State Representative, Eighty-Fifth Assembly District

Representative Mushinsky submitted written testimony and testified supporting this bill, highlighting three key elements that needed to be included in the bill as follows:

1. Primary prevention training:

a. We need to teach students “street smarts” that they may detect and avoid high risk scenarios;

b. We need to teach bystanders how to assist a threatened student. Bystander education was a feature of the legislature's anti-bullying law to protect children.

2. Mandatory reporting, so we can track trends in campus violence and steadily reduce the incidents. This was also an important feature of the anti-bullying law.

3. Anonymous reporting, as we allowed in the anti-bullying law. This will produce more accurate data.

Laura Cordes, Executive Director, Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc.

Ms. Cordes submitted written testimony and testified in support and stated that although additional best practices of this bill have been proposed and developed and championed she requests of the committee to consider adding additional best practices in this proposal as follows:

Catherine Bailey, Legal and Public Policy Director, The Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund

Ms. Bailey submitted written testimony in support of the bill stating that, “The well-being and safety of students in educational settings is of paramount importance, and CWEALF supports measures to ensure students' meaningful participation in school programs and benefits, by maintaining an environment free from harassment or violence.” She further states and supports that the creation of Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) should be implemented in all institutions of higher learning.

Judith B. Greiman, President, Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges

Ms. Greiman submitted written testimony and testified in support of HB Bill 5029 and urges the committee to maintain consistency with the federal laws with regards to Section 1: New Reporting Requirements- regardless of where incident occurred; Section 2: Definitions, training, anonymous reporting; Section 3: Sexual Assault Response Team; and Section 4: Bill requiring each college or university to enter into a MOU with at least one community based crisis service center.

Darcie Folsom, Director of Sexual Violence Prevention and Advocacy, Connecticut College

Ms. Folsom submitted written testimony and testified in support of the bill. She presented an overview of Connecticut College's Think S.A.F.E. Project and Connecticut College's collaboration to work against violence against women from grant funding received from the U.S. Dept. of Justice Office enabling them to hire and train staff to implement such programs.

Garry Lapidus, PA-C, MPH, Director, Injury Prevention Center, Connecticut Children's Medical Center

Mr. Lapidus submitted written testimony in support of the bill stating this will allow the bill to establish policies that not only parallel federal law but will assist our colleges to be in compliance with the 2013 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. In addition this bill will act to ensure the mandating of all higher education institutions to report sexual assault incidents and provide important data critical to assisting policymakers when addressing this issue.

Letamarie Highsmith, Jane Doe No More, Board of Director Member

Ms. Highsmith submitted testimony and testified in support stating that through Jane Doe No More's mission to improve how society responds to its victims of sexual assaults, their members launched a R.A.P.E. Outreach Program which raises awareness through personal experiences, and are seen and heard on many of our state college campuses empowering other victims. She also states that it is the “collaborative team approach” that will better serve this complex but very serious issue.

Gary MacNamara, Chief of Police, Fairfield Police Department

Chief MacNamara submitted written testimony supporting the needs for consistent policies and procedures for reporting sexual assault and intimate partner violence on campuses. He further states he is a member on the Boards of Jane Doe No More and the Engaging Men and Boys committee, and that our universities play an important role in the prevention and response of these crimes.

Liza Anders, Communications & Public Policy Specialist, CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Ms. Anders submitted written testimony and testified in support of this legislation and gave suggestions for substitute language that would allow for the participation of domestic violence partners in aiding college campuses in addressing intimate partner violence as follows:

“Line 168 – add “and intimate partner violence” after “assault” – this will result in a name change of the sexual assault response team to the Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Violence Response Team since the bill calls for a team to respond to both sexual assault and IPV.

The following lines also address the title of the response team:

Lines 169, 181, 192, 199 and 217 – add “and intimate partner violence” after “assault”;

Line 176 – add a new subdivision (3) that includes “a community-based domestic violence agency”;

Line 191 – add “and domestic violence” after “assault”;

Section 3 of the bill states that the response team will receive training regarding a “victim-centered response.” We believe it is important to define what this means. As such, we respectfully request that you consider adding the following definition to Section 2 of the bill:

“Victim-centered response” means the systematic focus on the needs and concerns of a victim of sexual assault or intimate partner violence that (A) ensures the compassionate and sensitive delivery of services in a nonjudgmental manner, (B) ensures an understanding of how victim trauma affects victim behavior, (C) maintains victim safety, privacy and confidentiality, and (D) recognizes that victims are never responsible for the crimes committed against them and that offenders are always responsible for their crimes.

Section 4 of the bill creates an MOU between institutions of higher education and at least one community-based sexual assault crisis service center to ensure that “any victim of sexual assault or intimate partner violence can access free and confidential counseling and advocacy services…” As such, we respectfully request that you consider the following additions to allow for the participation of domestic violence agencies:

Line 211 – add “and at least one community-based domestic violence agency” after “center” – The only agencies funded by state and federal government to respond to IPV that either does not encompass or goes beyond sexual assault are local domestic violence agencies. To ensure that the community is able to meet the requirements of this section, local domestic violence agencies should be included in the MOU.

The following lines also address the inclusion of the local domestic violence agency in the MOU:

Line 215 – add “sexual assault” after “such”; add “and domestic violence agency” after “center”

Line 218 – add “sexual assault” after “such”; add “and domestic violence agency” after “center”;

With regard to the definition of “intimate partner violence” found in the bill, we respectfully request the following technical change be made to reference the correct definition of family violence in CT General Statutes:

Line 48 – remove “domestic”; add “family” in front of “violence”; remove “46b-38h”; add “46b-38a” after “section” – CT's family violence definition includes violence between unrelated persons presently residing together or who have resided together; persons in, or who have recently been in, a dating relationship; persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they are or have been married or lived together at any time.”

Catherine Zeiner, Executive Director, Safe Futures, Inc.

Ms. Zeiner submitted written testimony and testified in support of this bill and the substitute language proposed by the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She further states that “the provisions and requirements in this bill, particularly the ones including community resources as part of a Response Team, work to improve the conditions on campus to respond to and prevent sexual and intimate partner violence.”

Maria Busineau, Crisis Counselor/Advocate, Sexual Assault Crisis Center of Eastern Connecticut

Ms. Busineau submitted written testimony and testified supporting the main concepts of this bill and the importance of ongoing trainings and educating of first responders to these victims, and follow-up information giving the victims clear and concise resource tools that are best available for those needing services.

Melanie Danyliw, Director of Training & Program Development and legislative liaison at the Women's Center of Greater Danbury

Ms. Danyliw submitted written testimony in support stating that this bill provides the tools and guidance and oversight to provide the safe-guards of our college campuses, and yet there is still significant work to be done in staff training, sexual and interpersonal violence prevention education of all students as part of orientation, increased reporting options and best practice disciplinary proceedings.

Vijay Nair, MLS, President, Connecticut State University, American Association of University Professors

Mr. Nair submitted written testimony in support of H.B. 5029. He supports victims receiving verified documentation that complaints have been reported and that resources to help victims are included in the documentation. He further supports the anonymity given to students when reporting incidents to college/university officials.

Dr. Thomas C. Pellegrino, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Fairfield University

Dr. Pellegrino submitted written testimony and testified in support of the revisions and expansions of on-going reporting efforts and requirements on state campuses. He stated two critical elements: The first is the assessment that requires colleges and universities to report back on data points regarding feedback from the required metrics under the Clery Act, and data collected through survey and focus groups; and the second element would be the importance of having a sexual assault response team in partnership with other external constituents such as CONNSACS.

Katie Kelley, Dean of Students, Asnuntuck Community College

Ms. Kelley submitted testimony and testified in support of this bill, but has some concerns that concern the community colleges. She asked that the following concerns and suggestions be considered given the differences between major residential campuses and community colleges as follows:

1. The proposed sexual assault response team – I encourage the committee to work with the Board to better define a membership group for the community colleges that recognizes that staff at the colleges may not serve in the functions outlined in the proposed makeup of these teams, or that the confidentiality of the victim of assault or abuse may be violated.

2. Reporting requirements – The committee should align reporting requirements with Clery Act requirements and reporting dates and consider the effect such reporting requirements have on the smallest institutions.

3. Memoranda of Understanding – Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services provides a 24 hour hotline and a dedicated advocate for each campus. This partnership can include campus wide programming, faculty and staff training and intervention and support for victims as is currently the practice at Asnuntuck Community College. Strengthening and supporting this alliance negates the need for a series of MOUSs across the system.”

Jennifer Wenderoth, College Advocate, Rape Crisis Center of Milford

Ms. Wenderoth submitted written testimony and testified in support of this bill and expressed her pleasure in the University of New Haven's approach to educate and implementation of policies informing victims of their rights. Being a survivor herself she believes a lot of progress has been made but there is still a long way to go and big advocate for this bill.

Jennifer Coyne, parent of an assault victim

Ms. Coyne submitted written testimony and testified in support stating that “House Bill 5029 will stand to effect positive change on our campuses. It will require a greater accountability of the individuals that sit in the offices of our colleges and universities.” As the mother of a survivor of a sexual assault at UConn she states that this bill will benefit those, unlike her daughter, with the services and resources they need.

Anonymous Parent submitted written testimony supporting this bill and shared the sexual assault of her daughter while attending college. She stated that she was very appreciative for the services that CONNSACS has provided her family. She further states that grants should be considered for future funding of the training of staff response teams.

Matt Breuer, Undergraduate Student, Yale University

Mr. Breuer submitted testimony in support of this bill. He commented that not only can our campuses be prepared for after an assault has occurred, but that a high priority must also be put on prevention measures to build a community's trust.

Catherine Chiocchi, Undergraduate Student, Yale College

Ms. Chiocchi submitted written testimony in support stating that as a Communication and Consent Educator at Yale she is part of a peer group that works to promote a positive sexual culture on campus and educate on policies and procedures within their campus community and considers this legislation as pivotal when it comes to education programming.

Evan Walker-Wells, Undergraduate Student, Yale University

Mr. Walker-Wells submitted written testimony in support of this bill as a peer educator and proponent of the continuing ongoing trainings and educating of sexual violence and harassment that exists on college campuses. He further states that their campus runs a workshop for Bystander Intervention which in turn creates communities in where students feel empowered in their own lives and can in turn support those who have experienced sexual violence and building shared values and skills.

Krystal Rich, Graduate Student, UConn School of Social Work

Ms. Rich submitted written testimony in support of the bill and the importance of allowing for anonymous reporting. Ms. Rich testified before the committee in 2012 on H.B. 5031 An Act Concerning Sexual Violence on College Campuses. As a victim herself she states how difficult it is to report an assault to authorities. Ms. Rich shared with the committee that had there been anonymous reporting in place when she was sexually assaulted it would of allowed people to say something while keeping their anonymity and the resources of where to report such incidents.

Novelette Brown, Mother & Student

Ms. Brown submitted supporting testimony and testified in support of this bill stating “we can breathe a little easier knowing that we have the law on our side in the event of sexual and/or domestic violence as we pursue higher education.”

Millie Cunningham and Kirsi Balazs, Stamford Youth Service Bureau

Ms. Cunningham and Ms. Balaza submitted written testimony and testified in support of the bill and were encouraged by the reporting requirements that were otherwise lacking and are now contained in the bill; and, the rights of the victims of assault have when an incident is reported.

Janiece Lara, Student, Southern Connecticut State University

Ms. Lara submitted written testimony supporting the bill stating that as a former student, who lived on campus for many years, that this bill will give a great opportunity to create a much needed plan to address the sexual assault abuse issue.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None Expressed.

Reported by: Susan M. Gieras, Assistant Clerk
Jeanie B. Phillips, Clerk

March 18, 2014