White House misses yet another deadline, plans 'special event' instead
- The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault missed its April 21 deadline.
- Obama is on a six-day tour of Asia and the task force is not expected to make its recommendations until he returns.
The 90 days have passed and the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault has remained silent, instead waiting until next week to release recommendations at an event.
Last month, in light of a White House report declaring that no one in the United States is more at risk of a sexual assault than college women, President Barack Obama shed his role as Commander-in-Chief as he signed a memorandum creating a task force to explore college campuses across the nation. Instead, the president acted as Father-in-Chief, vowing to take on a plague sweeping across the nation’s college campuses: sexual assault.
“This is a priority for me, not only as President and Commander-in-Chief, but as a husband and a father of two extraordinary girls,” Obama said in January during his weekly address. “And I hope it’s a priority for you. Because here in the United States of America, every man and woman, every girl and boy, has the right to be safe and protected and to pursue their own piece of the American Dream.”
According to the study from The White House Council on Women and Girls which prompted Obama to create the task force, one in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college. Twelve percent of those women actually report the crime.
The administration, touting itself as an advocate for women, assembled the task force with the “action plan” of developing and submitting proposals and recommendations to the president “[w]ithin 90 days" on ways to increase enforcement, interagency coordination, public awareness and transparency in order to combat a growing rape and sexual violence era on campuses.
Andrea Pino, a senior at the University of North Carolina, is a leading advocate of reform on college campuses after her own sexual assault two years ago. While the 22-year-old was encouraged by the national attention surrounding the issue, she called the 90-day timeline "naive."
"Campus rape was never considered a national conversation in itself," she said. "It's definitely a step in the right direction. I think it's a little naive that in 90 days all guidelines would be absolved."
But time was up for the task force Monday, April 21. Obama left for a six-day tour of Asia on Wednesday.
According to a spokesperson from the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation’s anti-sexual violence organization that presented the administration with its own recommendations, the task force is set to reveal its findings next week, more than a week after the 90-day mark.
A spokesperson from RAINN confirmed to Campus Reform that the organization had been invited to a “special event” on Tuesday, April 29, but is unaware of what the event entails.
The task force has not been particularly vocal as most of the attention has been driven by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers demanding reform and change in America’s higher education system.
Multiple universities have come under fire in the past few years for mishandling sexual assault cases, including requiring investigations from the federal government.
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