Bills addressing sexual assault to be introduced in Michigan Senate Monday

Michigan State Capitol - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Wikimedia Commons
Michigan State Capitol

A package of bills intended to address sexual assault on college campuses in Michigan is set to be unveiled on Monday.

The legislation, with months of planning and bipartisan backing, is being introduced on the heels of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal and the #MeToo movement.

The primary sponsor of the bills, Sen. Margaret O'Brien (R-Portage), will be joined by several cosponsors as well as Nassar abuse victims at 4 p.m. on Monday inside the capitol.

Language in the sexual assault bill will address several angles of the conversation, including mandating college coaches report sexual assault instances to Children's Protective Services and increasing the statute of limitations for civil cases involving sexual assault.

O'Brien has worked with several other female lawmakers from around the state in drafting the bill.

Michigan State University, currently the epicenter of a sexual assault scandal that engulfed the school, announced Feb. 13 it was hiring an outside firm to investigate reports of sexual assault on campus.

Despite studies that show only 20 percent of women report sexual assault to law enforcement, MSU's Office of Institutional Equity has cited a 35 percent increase in reports from academic year 2015-2016 to 2016-2017. And they expect that number to rise.

Among other moves the legislature is considering are the creation of an appeals process for students who have filed Title IX complaints, as well as requiring university presidents to receive all complaints of sexual assault.

The announcement will be live streamed here.

Jack Nissen is an editorial intern at Metro Times and a masters student of environmental journalism at Michigan State University.

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