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AASCU Policy Report on State Policy Proposals to Combat Campus Sexual Assault

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is pleased to present the latest installment from its Policy Matters series.

State Policy Proposals to Combat Campus Sexual Assault

In the past several years, campus sexual assault has emerged as a top-tier student health and safety concern among federal policymakers. Due in part to the considerable visibility to this issue from the Obama administration and Congress, state policymakers have proposed an array of solutions aimed at preventing and effectively responding to sexual assault on college campuses.

This policy brief summarizes the federal role in responding to campus sexual assault and key bills under consideration in Congress on this issue. It then outlines state-level policy responses to campus sexual assault, including affirmative consent requirements, transcript notations, mandatory reporting, and confidential reporting. The paper also includes 10 tables of state legislation and descriptions of bills related to campus sexual assault. It concludes with a reiteration of AASCU’s commitment to preventing campus sexual assault through improved education and outreach, providing robust support services to victims of campus sexual assault, and ensuring equitable and timely disciplinary procedures on these matters.

Authored by the Kati Lebioda, AASCU Assistant Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis

Subscribe to the AASCU Daily Higher Education Policy Headlines.

Mass. Adopts Policy on Civic Learning for Public Higher Education

By Caitlin Reilly, Program Associate, American Democracy Project

Last Thursday, May 8, 2014, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) became the first in the nation to adopt a policy on civic learning for public college and university students.   With the new policy, public two- and four- year higher education institutions in Massachusetts will be required to incorporate civic learning as an “expected outcome” for undergraduate students.

In a news release announcing the decision, Commissioner of Higher Education Richard M. Freeman described the vote as a call to campuses “to reaffirm a shared commitment to the civic learning, which is essential if students are to meet their future responsibilities as citizens.”

The Board met at Massasoit Community College (Mass.) to deliberate on the issue.  They arrived at a consensus of the scope of civic engagement, which includes components covering knowledge of the history of civic engagement in the U.S.; intellectual and practical skills that would facilitate civic engagement; and an understanding of the social and political values associated with democratic and civic engagement.

The policy will go into effect for undergraduates beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year. Fitchburg State University (Mass.), an ADP campus, plans to partner with TDC member campus Mount Wachusett Community College, to use the AAC&U LEAP VALUE rubrics to develop a new means of evaluating and assessing students’ civic learning.

In the meantime, you can learn more about the policy at the 2014 ADP/TDC National Meeting in Louisville, Ky. June 5-7, 2014.  At the meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Education’s assistant commissioner for academic, P-16 and veterans policy, Shelley Tinkham will give a talk on the policy, the process of creating it and how it will be implemented moving forward.  You can register for the meeting here.

Higher Education and the 2014 Gubernatorial State of the State Addresses | An AASCU State Policy Update


By Thomas L. Harnisch, assistant director of state relations and policy analysis, and Emily A. Parker, senior research and policy associate, AASCU

Most governors annually promulgate state policy priorities in State of the State addresses to a joint session of the legislature. Governors use these speeches as a vehicle to highlight their administration’s successes, outline state policy challenges and propose solutions to advance their vision for the state.

AASCU has analyzed 41 addresses that have been given this year since January 1st to examine the extent to which governors have integrated higher education related themes into their state policy and programmatic agendas. The remaining nine addresses either have not been given or will not occur this year. Collectively, these speeches provide a portrait of the governors’ plans and priorities for higher education in the states.

The following themes were most apparent in this year’s gubernatorial State of the State Addresses this year:

  • Higher education continues to be an integral component of governors’ state economic plans. Similar to the last several years, higher education continues to be mentioned most frequently as instrumental in building state workforce capacity and boosting economic growth. Throughout the country, governors emphasized programs in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) and highlighted partnerships between colleges and business and industry.
  • College affordability remains a leading public policy concern. Through tuition freezes and additional investments in state financial aid programs and public college and university operating support, governors are seeking to keep college within reach for low- and middle-income students. In particular, governors introduced a number of proposals to allow students to pursue educational opportunities at community and technical colleges at minimal costs.
  • Career and technical education has emerged as a top gubernatorial priority. The shortage of workers in high-skill fields has prompted governors to propose using state resources to encourage high school students and working adults to explore career opportunities in high-need, technically-oriented occupations. Governors proposed investing state monies in grant aid programs to make educational opportunities affordable in health care, manufacturing, and information technology-related careers.
  • Governors are calling for stronger alignment between K-12 and college/career readiness. Governors continued to emphasize bridging the gap between K-12 and postsecondary education and training, especially through dual enrollment programs. State policymakers are seeking to eliminate redundancy and save students’ time and money by providing credit for courses in both high school and college programs.

Higher education related topic areas from this year’s addresses are shown below and ordered according to their prevalence in governors’ 2014 State of the State speeches. A state-by-state accounting of higher education-related gubernatorial public policy proposals stemming from this year’s addresses is provided via the link below.

2014 State of the State Addresses and Higher Education (pdf)

  1. Economic and Workforce Development (AL, AK, AZ, CA, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MD, MA, MI, MO, NH, NM, NY, OH, OK, SD, TN, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY)
  2. Career/Technical Education (AL, AK, DE, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, MD, MA, MI, OH, SD, TN, WV, WI)
  3. College Affordability/Tuition Policies (AZ, CO, FL, GA, IL, IA, KY, MD, MA, MO, NH, RI, TN, WA, WI)
  4. Dual Enrollment/Early College (AL, AK, CT, DE, IL, ME, MD, NM, OH, SD, TN, VT, WI)
  5. College/Career Readiness (AL, AK, AZ, CT, GA, KY, MD, MS, NH, NJ, OK, TN, UT)
  6. State Higher Education Funding (CO, CT, ID, IA, KS, LA, MA, NE, NH, TN, WA)
  7. State Financial Aid (AK, CT, DE, GA, HI, IL, IA, MO, PA, WA, WI)
  8. STEM Education (IA, MI, MO, NH, NY, UT, VT, WA, WV)
  9. University-led Research and Innovation (AL, AZ, CA, DE, ID, IA, NM, WY)
  10. Community Colleges (ID, IL, IA, MA, MI, MO, OH, TN)
  11. Public-Private Partnerships (DE, GA, ID, IN, LA, MI, NM)
  12. Capital Construction/Facilities/Equipment (MO, NM, OH, RI, SD, TN)
  13. Medical Education (IL, IA, NM, SD, WI)
  14. Military/Veterans Education (IL, IA, OH, WV)
  15. State Educational Attainment Goals (ID, IL, TN, UT)
  16. Performance-based funding (FL, MO, OH, TN)
  17. College Completion (CT, ID, OK, TN)
  18. Adult Learners (CT, IN, TN, WI)
  19. Remedial Education (AK, GA, SD, TN)
  20. Student Debt (IA, MO, NM, PA)
  21. Teacher Education (DE, MS, WV)
  22. College Transfer (KY, WV)
  23. Immigration (MD, WA)
  24. Consumer Information/College Choice (DE)
  25. College Savings (CT)
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