A bipartisan group of eight senators on Wednesday introduced new legislation aimed at curbing sexual assaults on college and university campuses.
"The prevalence of sexual abuse on campuses around the country is staggering and stunningly underreported," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
Approximately one in five undergraduate women have been the victim of sexual assault on campus. The senators say that number could actually be much higher because many sexual assaults are not reported.
"Under the current system," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., "colleges lack incentives to investigate or properly handle violent sexual crimes that occur on their campuses. With this bill, we are flipping the incentives."
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. says there will be a stiff price of up to one percent of the schools' total operating budget to pay for schools that don't follow the new guidelines — which include coordinating with law enforcement officials, and providing confidential advisors to the victims.
This new legislation comes just weeks after a senate subcommittee released a survey that says 41 percent of 236 American colleges had conducted no investigations of alleged assaults in the last five years.
"No bill is going to solve every problem in the world. Ultimately, as a society, we must do a better job of condemning this," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said.
Gillibrand says she's optimistic this bill will be passed by the end of the current congressional term with overwhelming bipartisan support.