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Feds Probe How UC Berkeley, Other Colleges Handle Reports Of Sexual Assaults

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Students walk through Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Students walk through Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

AnnaDuckworth20100909_KCBS_0483r Anna Duckworth
Anna started her broadcasting career at KCBS in 1994, a few mont...
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BERKELEY (KCBS) – UC Berkeley is among more than 50 colleges nationwide being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education, for how they handle reports of sexual assaults on their campuses.

Peninsula Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who is looking to toughen laws against what she called an epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses, said she’s pleased the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has launched an investigation, especially since 1 in 5 women in college become victims of sexual assault.

“These are not girlfriend-boyfriend spats. These are not he said-she said experiences,” Speier said. “These, in a societal setting, would be seen as violent crimes.”

Speier said to prevent what she calls “a culture of campuses sweeping reports of sexual assault under the rug,” she will introduce federal legislation within the next two weeks.

“That will require mandatory climate surveys, which will require greater accountability by these institutions,” she said.

The bill will also increase funding for the Department of Education investigations into complaints.

UC Berkeley is also the subject of a state probe ordered by the Legislature’s Joint Audit Committee. A report is due in June.

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