Texas colleges would be required to establish firm policies for dealing with sexual assault -- including defining punishment for violations and protocol for reporting and responding to reports -- under a bill passed by the Texas House.
The House rejected a proposal to put together a task force to better understand the issue, reported the Houston Chronicle. The task force would have reviewed federal laws -- including Title IX and the Clery Act, which requires schools to report sexual assaults -- and helped develop policy guidelines Texas schools may now be required to draft.
Under the bill passed, colleges must require entering freshmen to attend an orientation session on the school's campus sexual assault policy before or during the first semester. Schools also have to review their policies every other year.
The federal government requires schools to track the number of sexual assaults reported on campus. At many Texas schools, that number rose last year, said the Houston Chronicle. The Clery reports, showed a 450-percent increase at the University of Houston, from two incidents in 2012 to 11 last year. The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University reported smaller increases, the Chronicle said.