Kentucky House passes bill establishing rights for victims of sexual violence at state schools

The Kentucky Campus Due Process Protection Act now heads to the Senate

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky House on Monday passed the Kentucky Campus Due Process Protection Act, which is being called the largest student rights protection bill in the United States.

HB 290 is sponsored by Republican Rep. Kim Banta, of Ft. Mitchell.

Banta said under current state law, students being investigated do not have the same rights that are given to people on trial in criminal or civil court. The measure would maintain the idea of being innocent until proven guilty and expand that right to students in disciplinary hearings. It additionally would require the governing board of colleges and universities to adopt a student code of conduct for non-academic disciplinary procedures.

“Students deserve the right to a fair and legal process. It is important for students to get due process, just like every other person going through an investigation,” said Banta, who represents parts of Boone and Kenton counties. “When it comes to an on-campus investigation, one person should not determine a person’s fate, and it should be a collective decision by a group of campus officials.”

HB 290 would also require the university to maintain a file with investigation documents that have been submitted by both parties and make that file available to all parties involved. The bill would also provide the right for the student to be present during the disciplinary hearing, which currently is not required by universities.

“I have worked very hard on this bill and have worked hard to be inclusive in the language,” expressed Banta. “I have also worked with universities across the state to meet the demands they have laid out for me. The final demand I could not meet with the University of Louisville was removing the right to have representation. I moved on every point except for that one because it is crucial students have the right to legal counsel when facing a disciplinary hearing.”

Banta said for the first time in state law, HB290 would establish rights for victims who experience sexual violence at public Kentucky college campuses. The bill would require the university to maintain a file with investigation documents that have been submitted by both parties and make that file available to all parties involved. It also provides the right for the student to be present during the disciplinary hearing, receiving timely notice, cross-examine thru counsel, appeal.

The bill now advances to the Senate.

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