Frankel’s ‘It’s On Us’ anonymous reporting bill headed to governor

New law requires higher education organizations offer online, anonymous reporting of sexual assault

HARRISBURG, June 27 – Today bipartisan legislation to protect students at higher education institutions from sexual assault is headed to Gov. Tom Wolf. Sponsored by state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, whose district includes the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Chatham University, the “It’s On Us” legislation requires institutes of higher learning to offer online, anonymous reporting options for students.

“For many of our young people, college is a critical and formative experience where they have the opportunity to learn who they are and set themselves on a successful path they may walk their entire lives,” Frankel said. “However, for far too many it can also be a time of terror and abuse. We need to ensure that Pennsylvania’s campuses are safe, welcome spaces for all students, and this bill, which would require colleges and universities to offer anonymous, online reporting of sexual assaults, is a step toward that ideal.

“This meets students where they are at and breaks down barriers and formalities that can be intimidating to someone who has just suffered a life-altering traumatic event,” he continued. “Further, timely and accurate reporting will help police and campus authorities investigate crimes and bring campus predators to justice, saving other would-be victims.”

The bill’s passage was part of a bipartisan, bicameral effort led by Wolf and numerous students, parents, advocates and education leaders to create awareness about campus sexual assault, support survivors, encourage bystanders to intervene, and teach consent. It is expected to be swiftly signed into law.

In addition to Frankel’s legislation, the “It’s On Us” campaign has included funding for evidence-based prevention, reporting, and response systems to address campus sexual assault, as well as training programs for students and staff.