A bill that would require college victims of sexual assault to report the incidents to police cleared a key house panel Thursday. House Bill 51 was unanimously approved by the higher education appropriations subcommittee.
The bill applies to all crimes committed on college campuses.
The most recent version of the bill changes a mandate that would have banned colleges from investigating reported incidents. Instead, the new version prohibits schools from investigating alleged assaults without the participation of the victim.
“We have purposely tried to maximize the flexibility of the institutions to deal with how they handle their institutional mandatory reporting requirement," said Rep. Regina Quick, R-Athens, who helped write part of the bill.
Two sexual assault survivors testified against the legislation, saying the reporting requirement could keep some victims from coming forward.
"Going straight to law enforcement is not something every survivor wants or needs in order to continue their education,” Spelman student and assault survivor Venkayla Haynes said. “Moreover, as a woman of color, I know, factually, that the criminal justice system was not made for me."
Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, is the bill's sponsor. He said the measure would equally protect alleged victims and those accused of assault.
The legislation is expected to advance to the House appropriations committee.