Public Opposition to Campus Sex Assault Policies is Widespread, Polls Show

Three national polls reveal widespread disapproval of campus sexual assault policies implemented in recent years. The polls point to a need to re-think current federal and state mandates designed to curb campus rape, according to Stop Abusive and Violent Environments.

In 2011 the Obama Administration’s Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague Letter requiring campus disciplinary committees to take the lead in resolving sexual assault allegations. This year, controversial Affirmative Consent policies were implemented at colleges in California, New York, and elsewhere.

In 2014, three national opinion polls gauged the level of public support for these new policies.

In January, a YouGov/Huffington post survey of 1,000 adults found only 17% placed “a lot” of confidence in the ability of colleges to “properly handle someone reporting rape, sexual assault, or harassment.” Far greater percentages of respondents trusted law enforcement (37%) and non-profit organizations (51%):

In July, Fox News-affiliated Gretawire conducted an online poll asking how campus rape cases should be handled. Among the nearly 3,000 respondents, 94.3% said all allegations should be sent to police and prosecutors. Only 5.7% believed colleges should first review the allegation:

In October, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments commissioned a national telephone poll on Affirmative Consent. When asked whether the government should have the “authority to determine how partners give their consent to sex,” 85% of respondents answered ‘No.’

“The message comes through loud and clear — Americans place little faith in the ability of campus disciplinary committees to handle complicated sex assault cases,” explains SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “We need to reform the current system which is shortchanging both victims and the accused.”

Nearly 700 editorials have criticized the Department of Education mandate and Affirmative Consent proposals on grounds of being unworkable, ineffective, and unfair:

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