President Obama and Vice President Biden are threatening to withhold college visits to any school that they say is inadequately addressing sexual assault.
The announcement comes after the Stanford University rape case and Vice President Biden’s letter to the victim, describing his “furious anger both that this happened to you and that our culture is still so broken.”
According to The Washington Post, the president, vice president, their wives, members of the cabinet, and other top administration officials will refuse to visit colleges or universities that they believe are insufficiently pursuing sexual assault allegations or punishing convicted students.
Biden’s letter, the Post wrote, “encapsulated the national outrage that erupted when the woman’s attacker was sentenced to just six months in county jail.”
With immense national scrutiny on such cases and the end of the Obama administration nearing, Biden stressed that “now’s the time to put the pedal to the metal.”
Obama’s administration has cracked down on colleges over his seven years in office, with the Education Department currently handling 253 ongoing investigations into 198 colleges and universities that have allegedly mishandled sexual assault cases.
Biden said in an interview that he would like to go as far as to “take away their money” if an institution does not change for the better.
The administration’s public awareness campaign called “It’s On Us” has gained the support of 344,400 people from 530 schools across the country who have pledged to intervene and prevent sexual assault before it happens.
The Post notes that the White House’s influence in the area of campus sexual assaults has provoked many universities to use the “preponderance of evidence” to determine a suspect’s guilt, rather than the traditional “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.
That change, the Post writes, “provoked criticism from some students and administrators, who see the federal involvement as heavy-handed and sometimes unfair.”