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ASG passes legislation to reform university sexual assault, bias reporting policies

<p>Over its last two senate meetings, ASG has passed three measures to address sexual assault.</p>

Over its last two senate meetings, ASG has passed three measures to address sexual assault.

Miami University’s Associated Student Government (ASG) passed three pieces of legislation to reform university policies involving sexual assault and one resolution to make public the data gathered by the university’s bias reporting system over its past two senate meetings, on Nov. 12 and Nov. 19.

Off-Campus Senator Izzy Arbetter and Academic Senator Trey Petrella co-authored a resolution that would require suspension as a mandatory minimum for students who violate the university’s Title IX policy against non-consensual sex.

The resolution, presented at the Nov. 12 meeting, expresses support for changing Miami’s policy so that suspension will be mandatory and expulsion will be recommended for students that violate clause 1.A of the Title IX policy. The clause defines non-consensual sexual intercourse as “any sexual penetration however slight, with any body part or object by any person upon any person without consent (commonly referred to as rape)” and prohibits such conduct.

Arbetter told senate that, currently, both suspension and expulsion are recommended consequences for Title IX violations and that the university decides the consequences on a case-by-case basis. 

On-Campus Senator Ryan Barr expressed concern that instituting mandatory minimums would mean losing “independence of the judicial process to find a solution to address the case at hand.”

Secretary for Alumni Affairs Julia Koenig proposed an amendment to the resolution’s definition of non-consensual sexual intercourse to change the word “penetration,” saying that language excludes queer assault.

The amendment passed with 29 senators in favor, three against and two abstentions and was added to the resolution, which then passed with 24 senators in favor, six against and five abstentions.

Earlier in the same meeting, Off-Campus Senator Shelby Frye presented a bill to require ASG members to attend Bystander Intervention Training.

“Obviously SIV [sexual assault and interpersonal violence] is a really big issue on our campus, and if we are going to be student leaders, we need to be proactive in making sure that we are educated on these matters,” Academic Senator Lauren Doepke said during debate.

The bill passed unanimously.

Senate passed a resolution to rewrite the crime reduction tips that accompany MUPD’s sexual assault safety bulletins on Nov. 19. 

The resolution was authored by Arbetter, Petrella and Doepke. During the resolution’s presentation, Doepke expressed concern that the current crime reduction tips place too much responsibility on the survivor and not enough on the perpetrator. 

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On-Campus Senator Danielle Stein and President of Hillel Jonathan Maxwell co-authored a resolution to support public reporting of the data gathered from the university’s bias reporting system. 

Secretary for Diversity and Inclusion Brandon Small spoke in support of the measure, saying that it would give the student body a better sense of the microaggressions marginalized populations face on Miami’s campus.

“You can’t have every lived experience,” Small said. “So you can’t know everything that goes on on this campus.”

The resolution passed unanimously.