U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, discussed legislation Tuesday which would reform and strengthen safety protections on college campuses.
Meehan said House Resolution 5844, known as The Protecting Victims on Campus Act of 2012, would strengthen the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Reporting Statistics Act. The Clery Act of 1990 was named after a Lehigh University student who was raped and murdered in her dorm room in 1986.
Meehan said the Department of Justice estimates 95 percent of assaults go unreported on college campuses.
“Clearly, we have a tremendous issue,” said Meehan, during a roundtable discussion about his legislation at Cabrini College Tuesday. “I would call it a national crisis.”
Meehan said his bill would correct the vagueness of reporting requirements under the Clery Act. He said it would seek clarity about individuals who are responsible for oversight of the Clery Act. The bill would protect the identity of victims and whistleblowers.
The bill also would require schools to report crimes that involve minors, which is especially important following the Penn State University scandal, Meehan said. Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged late last year for alleged sexual abuse of 10 boys between 1994 and 2008. He has denied the charges.
Meehan, a former Delaware County District Attorney and U.S Attorney, voted against House Resolution 4970, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012, last week. He said he voted against the bill because it did not adequately address crime on college campuses.