Campus Sexual Assault - General Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)?

The Model MOU is a sample agreement between campuses, law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations to ensure that there is a coordinated and effective response to reports of sexual assault or violence. The Model MOU instructs campuses on how to best respond – and hopefully decrease – sexual violence against students. If campuses effectively implement the Model MOU, victims/survivors will no longer bear the burden of navigating both on- and off-campus reporting and response systems on their own.

The Model MOU consists of two parts: a Template MOU and How-To Guide. The Model MOU has been crafted for customization and adoption by campuses and law enforcement agencies as they develop and/or improve their procedures in response to campus sexual assault. The Template MOU provides sample language for an agreement between campuses, law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations. The How-To Guide explains the various elements that campuses and law enforcement should consider and account for in their MOU, and provides examples of additional content the parties might want to add to the Template to reach their final agreement. Campuses and their law enforcement partners should use the How-To Guide to help tailor each section of the Template MOU to their local needs.

The Model MOU was created by the California Attorney General’s Office and University of California Office of the President, in partnership with the Alameda County and San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Offices and the San Francisco and Oxnard Police Departments.

What is the purpose of the Model MOU?

Put simply, the purpose is to increase transparency of the reporting process, enhance coordination between reporting systems and improve responses of campuses and law enforcement agencies to campus sexual assault.

The Model MOU is designed to help colleges/universities and law enforcement improve their response to incidents of campus sexual assault and violence. This will ensure a safer learning environment for students. Victims/survivors of sexual assault deserve to be supported and respected when they report to campus and/or law enforcement authorities, and the MOU asks all parties to commit to a victim-centered, trauma-informed response that promotes justice for victims/survivors and accountability for perpetrators of sexual violence.

Recent changes in California law require California campuses by July 1, 2015 to have policies in place to ensure that reports of violent crime, hate crime, or sexual assault made to a campus authority are immediately disclosed to local law enforcement. This applies to crimes that are committed on- and off-campus. The Model MOU helps campuses comply with this and other state and federal laws.

Who Does the Model MOU include?

The Model MOU is a suggested agreement between the college campus, local law enforcement agencies, and other appropriate participants, including Rape Crisis Centers, community-based organizations, and local medical facilities.

What does the Model MOU do?

The Model MOU is designed to assist campuses in meeting the statutory requirements established by Assembly Bill 1433 (Gatto, 2014), specified in the California Education Code (Ed. Code, § 67383subd. (a) and Ed. Code, § 67381), and requiring covered institutions to adopt and implement written policies and procedures to ensure that reports of Part 1 violent crimes, hate crimes, or sexual assaults are immediately, or as soon as practicably possible, disclosed to local law enforcement.

The Model MOU is also written to promote compliance with the numerous state and federal laws that provide specific requirements related to these issues, as outlined in California Education Code sections 67380, 67381 (the Kristin Smart Campus Safety Act of 1998) and 67383; Senate Bill 967 (de León, 2014), specified in California Education Code § 67386; the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”); and Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”); as well as the California Penal Code and applicable state laws related to health and confidentiality/privacy.

Is the Model MOU mandatory for all California campuses?

The Model MOU is intended to help comply with recent changes to California law; complement the work that campuses, law enforcement and community-based organizations are already doing; and where there are preexisting agreements, to serve as a supplement to fill in any remaining gaps. Each campus and local law enforcement agency should adapt the Template MOU and How-To Guide to their own local needs. Local implementation is essential to effectively address the problem of campus sexual assault.

Where can I find out more about campus and law enforcement obligations under the law?

In January 2015, Attorney General Harris issued an information bulletin to California law enforcement agencies, higher education administrators and campus security personnel, providing enforcement guidance on new and amended sexual assault and campus safety laws. The bulletin summarizes SB 967 (Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles) and AB 1433 (Assemblymember Mike Gatto, D-Glendale), and gives enforcement guidance in the context of existing state and federal statutes. View the Information Bulletin.