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Knox College Ahead of Illinois Law on Preventing Sexual Assault

Sep 4, 2015

Knox College said it's already implementing measures that will be required under a new Illinois law designed to prevent sexual assaults on college campuses.

The Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act was promoted by Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Lawmakers approved it this year and it was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner on August 21.  It will go into effect August 1, 2016.

Knox College itself was under investigation by the Department of Education last year for Title IX violations related to sexual misconduct. 

Megan Scott, Chief Communication Officer for Knox College, said the college was already working on changes to its policies before and during the investigation. 

“Several years ago, (we) began looking at our policies and procedures to make sure we were meeting the needs of our students and providing them with the resources and support necessary. And then, obviously, now we’re wanting to make sure we’re in compliance with Title IX,” Scott said.

The new Illinois law will require colleges and universities to develop a clear and comprehensive sexual violence policy, notify victims of their rights, provide a confidential advisor, and train students and campus employees in preventing sexual violence.

Scott said Knox was also already working to add some of the other requirements, such as  creation of a community task force. 

She feels the college's efforts have made a difference on campus.

“We’ve seen more cases come forward, so I think we’re able to handle those cases and recognize that we can start dealing with issues on campus. I think the students feel more comfortable coming forward, and that’s always a good thing,” Scott said.