Maine colleges, universities oppose student-backed bill to prevent sexual assault

Opponents said they realize that sexual violence is pervasive on college campuses and they are striving to do better, but the bill is unnecessary.

Legislation proposed by a group of current and former college students to prevent sexual assault and support survivors on college campuses faced pushback from Maine colleges and universities at a hearing Tuesday.

State-funded social service organizations, including the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, and Pine Tree Legal Assistance, supported many aspects of the bill but highlighted concerns about the legality of certain sections under federal law.

While surprised by the pushback during the hearing before the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, Lily James, executive director of Every Voice Coalition, a youth-run group that has passed similar legislation in five states, said that’s part of the legislative process and that she is excited to keep working with the stakeholders.

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