Tucked away in Republican Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget, is a clause that has nothing to do with campus funding. Yes, the proposed budget cuts 30 million dollars from the public university system. But beyond the Governor’s war on education, he is also intensifying the war on women, by proposing the elimination of rape reporting requirements on campus.
25. DELETE LANGUAGE RELATED TO SEXUAL ASSAULT INFORMATION AND REPORTING
Governor: Delete the requirement that the Board direct each institution and college campus to incorporate oral and written or electronic information on sexual assault in its orientation program for newly entering students and to supply all students enrolled in the institution or college campus with the same information in either printed or electronic form. Delete the requirement that the Board of Regents submit an annual report to the legislature regarding the methods used to comply with the above requirement.
Delete the requirement that any person employed at an institution who witnesses a sexual assault on campus or receives a report from a student enrolled in the institution that the student has been sexually assaulted report the assault to the dean of students.
Delete the requirement that each institution report annually to the Department of Justice (DOJ) statistics on sexual assaults and on sexual assaults committed by acquaintances of the victims that occurred on the campus of that institution in the previous years, and that DOJ include those statistics in appropriate crime reports.
This measure would eliminate the requirement that universities must report the number of sexual assault that occurred on campus to the Department of Justice (DOJ), during the reporting year. That alone is controversial. However, the more shocking change is that Walker’s proposal would also end the requirement that university employees who witness a sexual assault on campus, must report it to the Dean of Students. Walker apparently thinks its okay for university employees to remain silent about sexual assaults on campus.
Over the last couple of election cycles the Republican Party has battled the perception that they are waging a “War on Women”. Whether the issue is equal pay for equal work, reproductive choice, domestic violence, or insensitivity towards rape victims, the GOP has struggled to shed the image that they are anti-woman.
Scott Walker however appears to be waging the war anew. Apparently he relishes wielding power to oppress the people of Wisconsin as some kind of stepping stone to the White House. Perhaps his reasoning is if he cripples enough unions, and ignores enough rapes, maybe he will win the undying loyalty of the meanest primary voters in the GOP. If he can prove his misogynistic mettle with enough fervor, maybe it will inspire those Republicans who can’t stand Hillary Clinton to line up in his camp.
Who knows what Walker is actually thinking, with this ill-conceived proposal. What is clear however, is that one of the leading Republican candidates for President, has proposed a budget which says that campus rape isn’t such a big deal that a witness should actually have to report it to the Dean of Students.
Editor’s UPDATE: The Daily Beast and Jezebel have each correct, and in the case of The Daily Beast retracted their original story.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.