Ga. Senators Push University System On Sexual Assault Response

State lawmakers continued on Wednesday to push the University System of Georgia to take a clear stand on how to deal with campus sexual assault.

The system’s chancellor, Hank Huckaby, answered questions from a Senate committee on the issue.

State Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah), was among the senators who questioned Huckaby. Jackson is behind a bill read on Wednesday that takes sexual assault investigations out of the hands of campus police, and turns them over to local law enforcement.   

“We put up fences, but putting up fences around our colleges and universities isn’t doing enough, so this bill we think will add some teeth into putting an end to sexual assaults,” he said.

Jackson said he hopes his bill, if it doesn’t become law, will at least send a signal to the University System.

Huckaby said turning over investigations to local enforcement could discourage students from reporting incidents.

The University System is already concerned that sexual assaults are underreported, he said, and taking investigations away from campus police could make the problem worse.

“If the solution is to immediately turn everything over to law enforcement, that would have a chilling effect,” he said.

Huckaby said the University System will release statewide guidelines on the issue in May.