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A Rundown of the Campus SaVE Act Final Regulations: Prevention Programs

Posted by On Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On October 20, 2014, the Department of Education published its final regulations to implement the Clery Act amendments (the Campus SaVE Act) enacted under the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2013 (VAWA). It’s been over a year and a half since VAWA was signed by President Obama on March 7, 2013. The Campus SaVE Act regulations will take effect on July 1, 2015. In this post, we’ll focus on what these new regulations tell us about building prevention and awareness programs that are tailored to a particular campus and satisfy the requirements of a compliance review.

Do the regulations require an actual prevention program or just a policy statement?
A basic question about the Campus SaVE Act requirements was definitively answered by the Department’s discussion of the final regulations: simply having a policy describing the institution’s primary prevention and awareness programs does not satisfy the Campus SaVE Act requirements. Each school must have actual prevention programs that implement these policies.

Do a school’s prevention programs need to be informed by research?
Comments on the proposed regulations asked whether a school’s prevention programs must be both informed by research and assessed for effectiveness. The Department refused to require both because it would limit the types of programs institutions can develop. Since there has not been enough research done to show what makes a program effective, institutions may use “promising practices that have been assessed for value, effectiveness, or outcome but not subjected to scientific review.”

Is there specific content or a mode of delivery required?
In its discussion on the final regulations, the Department also noted that it would not mandate the specific content or mode of delivery. Specifically, computer-based programs and third-party vendors may be used as long as a program’s content meets the definitions under these regulations of “programs to prevent dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.”

Is it mandatory that students and employees complete prevention programs?
The same students and employees who must receive a copy of the institution’s annual security report must be offered prevention training. While the federal law does not require all students and employees to take or attend prevention training, the Department encourages schools to make the training mandatory “to increase its effectiveness.”

The Department also clarified that employees include union members and an “enrolled” student is anyone who has (1) completed registration requirements, except the payment of tuition and fees, or (2) been admitted into an online or correspondence education program and submitted at least one lesson without the help of a school representative (34 CFR § 668.2). The Department points out that “every enrolled student should be offered prevention training because anyone can be a victim of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, not just students regularly on campus.”

What information is required in a school’s prevention program?
Generally, an institution’s prevention and awareness programs must provide information to help students and employees understand their rights under the school’s procedures and programs to address incidents of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. In its discussion of the regulations’ costs and benefits, the Department says, “A benefit of these regulations is that they will strengthen the rights of campus victims . . ..”

Additionally, the prevention piece of these programs:

  • should focus on changing the social norms and stereotypes that create conditions in which sexual violence occurs
  • must be tailored to the individual communities that each school serves to ensure that they are culturally relevant and inclusive of, and responsive to, all parts of a school’s community
  • include “ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns,” which, as defined in §668.46(j)(2)(iii), requires that programs be sustained over time

For a list of the specific content required, we have put together a checklist of the Campus SaVE Act and Title IX training requirements for employees and students.

In future blog posts, we’ll explain other important provisions in the final regulations, including the regulatory requirements for disciplinary proceedings, and how to balance protecting a victim’s confidentiality and encouraging members of the campus community to report crimes.

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