Rep. LaSata plan will better protect college students

Chair of Higher Education subcommittee approves budget

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education today voted to require the state’s public colleges and universities to be more transparent with Title IX reporting or face a 10-percent reduction in state funding, state Rep. Kim LaSata announced.

Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding and the 15 public universities in Michigan are required to submit reports to the state pertaining to sexual assaults on campus. The Title IX state reporting requirement was added by the subcommittee in 2017.

The updated requirement is part of the subcommittee’s budget, which was approved today.

“Our colleges and universities have a mission to provide a safe educational environment for all students. This requirement gives each institution an opportunity to prove it,” said LaSata, chair of the subcommittee.

“It’s in each school’s best interest, along with those of their students, to be transparent on all Title IX reporting on sexual assaults. We do not want to penalize students or faculty, but it’s on the administration to follow through.”

The plan includes the following:

  • Requires an in-person sexual assault prevention course for students in their first two years and an electronic/online course for all other students;

  • Prohibits the use of in-house medical professionals during Title IX investigations;

  • Requires a third-party investigator to review an institution’s Title IX office, along with its policy and procedures before the 2018-19 school year;

  • Prohibits the distribution of differing investigation and final reports to victim and university officials; and

  • Requires the institution’s president and at least one governing board member to review all Title IX reports.

The subcommittee also approved a 1-percent increase in state funding. This increase is then ran through a performance formula which measures metrics such as graduation rates and total degree completions. Increases will vary per institution, anywhere from 0.8- to 1.5-percent, depending on how well each perform against those metrics.

The budget also protects students and families financially by requiring Universities to keep tuition and fee increases below 3.8-percent as a condition to receiving any new money.

“I firmly believe that Michigan has the potential to become a top ten state and that our fifteen public universities are the key to unlocking that potential,” LaSata said, “By keeping our universities both safe and accessible, we can better train the workforce of the future and reclaim our title as a center for innovation.”

House Bill 5571 advances to the House Appropriations Committee.

#MichiganState #KimLaSata #HigherEducation

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