FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --California schools from K-12 to colleges are embracing new laws this year.
On the community college level, administrators and officers now have more leverage when it comes to students charged with sexual assault.
As Fresno City College students head back to class from winter break some are learning about a new law that provides greater disciplinary action for students accused of sexual assault or battery. "We were much more limited than we are now," college Police Chief Richard Gaines said. "So, I think this bill gives us the ability to deal with certain situations and not have problems on our campuses."
Fresno City College along with other community colleges in California can now take swifter action in sexual assault cases. A new law in 2016 now allows administrators to expel or suspend students who committed the crime. "It has also expanded the definition of what sexual assault including sexual battery, so just mere touching inappropriately is a violation of that," Gaines said.
Also new, the victim in the sexual assault cases no longer has to be affiliated with the college in some way, in order for them to take action. "Whereas now if someone goes into the city and commits a sexual assault if that suspect he attends the campus here can be held accountable for that sexual assault off campus," Gaines said.
Gaines believes the new law will help keep community college campuses safer and student agree. "I think it's much needed," student Crayesha Young said. "I think it should have been had one like that."
Student Hazel Dejon agrees as well, "even men getting raped on campus and there's nothing that the campus can do and then when you come back to school, you're going to see your rapist and that's really detrimental to their psyche if you have to continue to see that person," he said. "So, I'm glad they passed the law."
While most students don't think it will drastically cut down on sexual assault incidents at colleges many agreed the law is a step in the right direction.