NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the forums will be part of the 21/21 Community Policing Project, which began last year and aims to improve relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

These events will bring prosecutors and law enforcement to campuses around the beginning of the next school year to meet students and service providers where they are, to discuss how we handle campus sexual assault cases and to learn how we can do better. Grewal’s announcement comes after Tuesday’s unveiling of the state’s first higher education plan since 2010, which listed a students bill of rights that includes access to safe and inclusive learning environments.

The guidance issued Thursday comes as Grewal and 18 other state attorneys general have voiced their opposition to a federal overhaul of campus sexual assault rules. Victims’ advocates and others fear the new rules will discourage people from disclosing assaults and prevent schools from taking action against students facing credible allegations.

Recently in New Jersey, William Paterson University reached an $800,000 settlement with the family of a former student who killed herself after an alleged on-campus rape. The family claimed the university failed to adequately investigate the claim and didn’t question or discipline the alleged attacker. Under settlement terms, the school admitted no wrongdoing.

In 2017, there were 30 reported rape cases on the Rutgers New Brunswick campus, three on the Newark campus and three on the Camden campus, according to the most recent data reported to the federal Department of Education.

There were 13 rape cases at Rowan University, 12 at Princeton University, 10 at Ramapo College, nine each at Monmouth University and Montclair State University, six at The College of New Jersey, and four at Seton Hall University, according to the 2017 data.

We will steadfastly defend the right of students to receive an education free of sexual harassment, violence and discrimination, We cannot stand by while the federal government proposes sweeping changes that would undermine that right and discourage students who are survivors of sexual violence from coming forward.

Though there has been an increase in reporting of sexual assault across campuses and other sectors in the wake of the Me-too movement, sexual violence still remains the most under-reported crime.

The message that I want survivors to hear, is that there are teams of people across the state who can guide them through these processes, teams of prosecutors and investigators working with them who dedicate their lives to prosecuting cases like yours, That’s the message that our county prosecutors will bring to campuses this fall.

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