Devil's in the details of Campus Accountability and Safety Act

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA), S. 2692, seeks to change how publicly funded universities investigate allegations of sexual assault. CASA and its House version, H.R. 5354, are currently in front of congressional committees. S. 2692 in particular has been widely hailed as a rare display of bipartisan support. Why, then, does the congressional watchdog GovTrack.us give CASA only a one percent chance of being enacted?

The act contains some alarming provisions.

On Aug. 7, Hans Bader, a senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, reported on one. CASA regulates how universities must approach sexual assault, including producing an annual survey of students' experiences, which will be published online. The penalties for non-compliance are massive: an initial penalty of up to 1 percent of the institution's operating budget and a potential $150,000 fine for each additional violation or misrepresentation — $150,000 per month if surveys are not completed to the standard required. Bader observed, "that [initial offense] would be a whopping $42 million for Harvard alone, since its budget is $4.2 billion."

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