Aggressive campus anti-rape laws proposed for Texas colleges

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AUSTIN — Texas could soon pass some of the most aggressive campus rape laws in the country, a reaction to the sexual assault scandal at Baylor University.

“I love my school, but I’ve been extraordinarily disappointed,” said Baylor alumnus Kirk Watson, a Democratic senator from Austin. “I actually think there is a real feeling that we need to address sexual assault.

“It’s a bear in the room.”

Watson filed five bills Tuesday that aim to increase and encourage reporting and lessen rates of sexual violence, harassment and stalking on college campuses. But he’s also the co-sponsor of a proposal that would require school employees — and even some students — to report assaults or else face criminal penalties.

“We’ve got to be serious about this,” Watson said. “Students have a right to be safe.”

52 acts of rape

Battling sexual assault on college campuses is now a top priority for both Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate. The players might disagree on exactly what to do and how to do it, but leaders on both sides of the aisle agree this is the year to act.

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