By Christina Myers. CREATED Jun 19, 2014
(TUCSON, KGUN9-TV/AP) - The Department of Education proposed new rules Thursday about reporting crimes like sexual assault, stalking and dating violence on college campuses.
Under the new rules, the categories would be expanded for which crimes have to be reported by colleges and universities.
Even at UA, where students told 9 On Your Side they felt safe on campus, they said they do think more statistics need to be reported.
"I could see that being helpful at least for other organizations in the community because they would extract their information from the government, then that would increase more awareness and more programs," said senior Isael Ortiz.
"I think the asset in the government having numbers like this is they have the money," said Counseling Center Coordinator at Sante Fe College in Florida Lara Zwilling. "They can create programs, they can help us educate and train and make these students aware," said Zwilling, who was at UA for conference on this and other issues.
Among the other proposed rule changes:
—Adding gender identity and national origin as categories of bias under the Clery Act's definition of hate crimes.
—Strengthening confidentiality protections for victims.
—Requiring colleges and universities to ensure that disciplinary proceedings in these types of cases are "prompt, fair and impartial."
The public has until July 21 to comment.
Ada Meloy, general counsel for the American Council on Education, which represents college presidents, said her organization will carefully examine the proposed changes to determine whether they would make campuses safer or add to the confusion colleges and universities face as they seek to comply with the law.
The change falls under the Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to report crime statistics on or near their campuses and provide warnings in a timely manner if safety is threatened. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 signed by President Barack Obama amended the Clery Act by extending additional rights to campus victims. Victims' advocates have said the statistics, as currently compiled, don't always paint an accurate picture of the extent of sexual crimes on campuses.