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Off-campus sexual assaults and the proposed federal rule changes

The problem of college sexual assault is not one that is limited to school grounds. In fact, a recent analysis suggests that, at major colleges, it is common for there to be more off-campus abuse incidents than on-campus ones.

The analysis, by the Associated Press, looked at data on sexual assault reports provided by eight major public universities. The data indicates that reports of off-campus incidents outnumbered reports of on-campus ones at five of these schools.

The recent proposed changes to federal campus sexual assault rules raise questions about how schools will respond to reports of off-campus assault in the future.

Among the things the changes would do is narrow what sexual assault incidents schools would be required to address. Specifically, it would be limited to incidents that happen in the "programs or activities" of the school in question. This could reduce what obligations schools have for responding to certain off-campus assault reports.

There is a fair amount of controversy and debate surrounding this proposed narrowing. Many believe it would take away important protections for students who experience abuse off of school property.

Also, there is currently some uncertainty regarding what the language of the proposed rule changes would, and would not, allow schools to do in response to off-campus sexual assaults.

When college students are subjected to sexual assault, whether it occurred on-campus or off-campus, it is important for them to get the support and resources they need to move forward. Sadly, survivors sometimes face barriers on this front. Skilled attorneys can assist abuse survivors with overcoming roadblocks put before them.

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