LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A bill that would require colleges to report sexual assaults, hate crimes and other violent campus crimes to local law enforcement was unanimously passed Tuesday by a legislative committee.
AB1433 was sponsored by assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, after a number of colleges in California were accused of covering up sexual assaults, that had allegedly occurred on their campuses, in order to keep their crime statistics low.
Both USC and Occidental College officials disclosed in October that they had under-reported the number of sexual assaults that had occurred in both 2010 and 2011.
Officials at USC told the Los Angeles Times that they had failed to report 13 such assaults between 2010 and 2011, bringing the total for that time period to 39.
Occidental College officials, meanwhile, acknowledged that they had failed to report 24 sexual assault reports, bringing its total to 26 for the same time period, according to a report by The Times.
Those schools are only a couple among several institutions nationwide to be accused of under-reporting crimes, and are the target of federal investigators.
A task force on campus sexual assault, assigned by the White House, is set to make recommendations later 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.
Campus officials are required to provide crime statistics, under federal law, in an annual Clery Act report.
If AB1433 is passed by the legislature, the bill 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.