Over the course of the summer, Pennsylvania’s House Bill 240 was passed. The shortened title of the bill declares it to be “An Act providing for sexual violence awareness education programs for new students matriculating to institutions of higher education or private licensed schools that receive public funding and for duties of the Department of Education.”Centre County state Representative Scott Conklin announced his legislation that would provide rape and sexual violence awareness courses for all incoming freshmen at Pennsylvania colleges and universities.
“As our children leave home to begin their adult life, it’s in those first six months that they are most susceptible to harm,” Conklin said. “We need educational programs to teach students how to recognize red flags and what they can do to prevent or avoid an attack.”
This bill will implement that colleges and universities in Pennsylvania would have to hold educational programs for first year students casing a range of topics linked to sexual violence, including what legally constitutes permission or opposition, vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, and the correlation involving drugs, alcohol and sexual violence. Furthermore, the bill would encourage the institution of a strong support system for victims of sexual violence in the midst of campus security and local law enforcement employees, the campus health center, women’s center, rape crisis center and counseling services.
The measure is indistinguishable to legislation Conklin introduced in 2007. Last session, the House overpoweringly passed the bill, but the Senate did not act on it. The bill now again moves to the Senate for consideration. More information is available on various governmental websites, but students should note their role and importance in governmental issues such as House Bill 240, and contact the appropriate senator from the area.
Rebekah Balmer is a third-year student majoring in Women’s Studies. She can be reached at RB649636@wcupa.edu.