Maryland, George Washington extend sexual assault claims process
Two local universities are taking major steps toward extending the rights of victims of sexual assault, with one extending a statute of limitations on reporting assaults and the other extending geographic boundaries of jurisdiction over sexual assault claims.
According to the GW Hatchet, the Faculty Senate at George Washington University dramatically extended the length of time victims of sexual assault have to report a crime. The statute, which was previously set at six months last autumn, was lengthened to two years.
While campus leaders say that the policy isn't "perfect," the process is now more conducive for victims to come forward with their claims. It also allows for victims to remain anonymous throughout the claim process.
"We do not want to rush anyone through this personal process," GWU Deputy Title IX administrator Tara Pereira told the Hatchet.
Meanwhile, up the road at the University of Maryland, the university's Senate recently voted to allow campus authorities to investigate claims of sexual assault both on and off campus.
Previous codes frequently led campus officials to direct victims to local police because they didn't have jurisdiction over assault claims that didn't take place on the College Park campus.
"With the changes to the code, that won't have to happen any longer," Maryland Office of Student Conduct Director Andrea Goodwin told the Diamondback.