Cavanaugh Courtesy Photo

A bill requiring public colleges and universities in Nebraska to report information on campus sexual assault and dating violence to the Nebraska Legislature was granted first-round approval Thursday.

LB534 was first introduced by Omaha Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh on Jan. 22, 2019 and was revived this session to address concerns the University of Nebraska, state colleges and community colleges had with the original proposal. 

The amended bill would ensure the legislature is kept up to date on occurrences of sexual assault and violence and the action taken by post-secondary institutions across the state by requiring campuses to administer a sexual assault survey, according to Unicameral Update. The results would then be provided to the legislature, including information regarding sexual assault complaints.

“Campus sexual and dating violence is a crisis that we struggle to deal with,” Cavanaugh said in the Unicameral Update. “And ensuring lawmakers have the most up-to-date and accurate information possible can only help us make better decisions.” 

According to Unicameral Update, an amendment by the legislature’s Education Committee would require the report be submitted every two years to the Education Committee in addition to the Clerk of the Legislature, on results regarding sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. 

Any campus climate surveys related to the topics and related information about training provided to Title IX coordinators and others would also be reported.

Cavanaugh also filed an amendment to the committee amendment requiring more information be included in each report such as policies, initiatives or grievance procedures adopted to address reported issues, according to the website.

Senators voted 37-0 to adopt the original amendment, voted 40-0 to adopt Cavanaugh’s amendment and voted 40-0 to advance the bill to select file, according to Unicameral Update. If approved, the amended bill would require institutions to electronically submit reports on or before Sept. 15 this year and every even-numbered year thereafter.

Dear UNL, a group of students, alumni, faculty and staff advocating for change in the Title IX process at UNL, thanked Cavanaugh for listening to their concerns and advocating for more transparency.

“Hopefully with the advancement of this LB534, we will be able to see this transparency from UNL as well as enable and empower the public to hold them accountable for how they’re responding to sexual violence on campus,” Dear UNL said in a statement.