FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 12, 2014
Campus Sexual Assault—McCaskill ‘Extremely Troubled’ by
Webinar Cautioning Schools on Survey Participation
Senator demands answers from American Council on Education on reports of a ‘chilling effect’
from instructions to schools on how to respond to sexual assault survey
WASHINGTON – After launching a massive survey of hundreds of colleges and universities on how they handle campus sexual assaults—the first Congressional inquiry of its kind—U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today sent a letter to the American Council on Education following troubling reports that the Council retained a private law firm to hold a webinar cautioning institutions on whether and how they should respond to McCaskill’s survey.
McCaskill is surveying 450 colleges and universities through her Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight to assess how these institutions respond to and address sexual violence and harassment. The survey is part of McCaskill’s ongoing effort to combat sexual assault on college campuses—and she has already collected nearly 200 completed surveys.
“As the recipients of the letters know, I have made a commitment to them that neither a school’s response nor its participation in the survey will be shared outside my office,” McCaskill wrote. “I made this commitment to encourage the selected institutions to participate in the survey and to ensure that I would receive honest answers. Given these efforts, I am extremely troubled by the fact that the American Council on Education provided counsel to its member institutions which may have had the opposite effect.”
In order the assess the damage to the survey the Council may have caused, McCaskill requested the Council provide copies of the webinar and any written and electronic materials that were distributed during the presentation. In addition, to ensure the Subcommittee can provide accurate information to any institution that may have received inaccurate information regarding the survey from the webinar, McCaskill requested the Council provide a list of the institutions that participated in the webinar no later than May 16th.
A copy of McCaskill’s letter is available HERE.
Read more on McCaskill’s effort to combat sexual assault on college campuses HERE.