NCD Letter to Congress Regarding the SECuRE Act

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April 1, 2019

The Honorable Lamar Alexander
Chairman
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
United States Senate
428 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Patty Murray
Ranking Member
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
United States Senate
428 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Bob Casey
United States Senate
393 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Maggie Hassan
United States Senate
324 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray, Senators Hassan and Casey:

I write on behalf of the National Council on Disability (NCD) to express our appreciation for the Committee’s continued focus on the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. Last year the National Council on Disability published a report bringing attention to the disproportionate incidence of sexual assault against students with disabilities as well as the discrimination that these students too often face when they report an assault. The report, Not on the Radar: Sexual Assault of College Students with Disabilities found that students with disabilities are not “on the radar” of colleges in their sexual assault prevention efforts, policies, or procedures for response and support after an assault. This includes the absence of procedures to communicate with victims who are Deaf or hard of hearing and inaccessible support services for students with mobility disabilities. As this Committee considers sexual assault on college campuses as both a personal tragedy for individual students but also as a public health crisis, we urge you to keep students with disabilities on your radar.

Following the release of Not on the Radar last year, Senators Hassan and Casey co-sponsored groundbreaking legislation, the Safe Equitable Campus Resources and Education (SECuRE) Act, in line with NCD’s policy recommendations from Not on the Radar, that requires institutions to report sex offenses, domestic and dating violence and stalking involving a victim who has a disability, ensure that responses to these incidents take the needs of victims with disabilities into account, ensure that prevention and awareness programs are accessible and include people with disabilities, hold disciplinary hearings that are accessible and conducted by officials with training in working with people with disabilities. They have re-introduced the legislation in anticipation of this hearing; NCD commends the Senators as well as Congresswoman Dingell for their continued leadership on this critical issue and looks forward to continuing to educate policymakers regarding the need to include students with disabilities in efforts to prevent sexual assault on college campuses as well as to address the impact of sexual assault on students with disabilities. As part of that effort, NCD would like to submit the report, Not on the Radar: Sexual Assault of College Students with Disabilities, attached to this letter as Appendix A, for inclusion into the record of this hearing.

Respectfully,

Neil Romano
Chairman