In four years, the Justice Department says, 20 percent of women who enter college next month will become victims of rape. Just one in eight sexual assaults will be reported.
Too often, little more than academic probation or suspension will await the offenders, who are shielded from the justice system by a culture of protection.
A proposed Senate bill targets this intolerable culture. It would require colleges that get federal aid to bolster law-enforcement agencies’ involvement in sex-assault cases. It would improve resources for rape survivors. It would ban athletic departments from investigating charges against their own players.
One troubling part of the bill would require college administrations to conduct anonymous surveys to gather data on student experiences with sexual assault, for publication online. This provision could empower embittered individuals to respond to the survey with false accusations, tarnishing the image of the college over any grievance they might have.
There is an undeniable need for this overall legislation. But the Senate must ensure that in tackling one problem, it does not create another.