A bill that aimed to help survivors of sexual assault on college and university campuses was struck down by Republicans in Colorado’s Senate this week.
The bill would have clarified and added transparency to the sexual assault reporting process on campuses and added protections for survivors. That includes requiring institutions to publish their sexual misconduct policies, prohibiting information surrounding unrelated sexual behavior from being used in cases, and providing sexual misconduct training to students and faculty.
Senate Republicans’ rejection of the bill comes after multiple men within their ranks, including Sen. Randy Baumgardner (R-Hot Sulfur Springs), Sen. Jack Tate (R-Centennial), and Sen. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa), have been accused of sexual harassment themselves.
The accusations revolving around Baumgardner, in particular, have caused a stir at the Capitol. Multiple formal complaints against Baumgardner have been deemed credible by outside investigators, leading Colorado Democrats to lead a resolution for his expulsion. But many of Baumgardner’s Republican colleagues voted against that resolution, causing it to fail and allowing the senator to continue working at the Capitol.
The Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) condemned Senate Republicans in a press release for making sexual assault a “partisan issue:”
“In the past year, it has become glaringly obvious that Colorado Senate Leadership is unwilling to address sexual misconduct in any form, from the State House to the school house. CCASA denounces the Senate Leadership’s decision today that made sexual assault a partisan issue. We re-affirm our belief that sexual violence is an issue that impacts each and every corner of our community—regardless of party affiliation.”
It’s unclear what aspects of the bill Senate Republicans took issue with, as Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert didn’t respond to a call seeking answers to that question.
The bill failed in the Senate Appropriations Committee on a party-line vote despite a bipartisan group of sponsors.