Senate OKs easing university code rules in sex assault cases

Senate OKs easing university code rules in sex assault cases

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Senate has approved exempting victims and witnesses of sexual assaults from being punished under university code of conduct rules for violations such as underage drinking on campus.

The bill by Democratic Sen. Kirk Watson of Austin is designed to encourage reporting of sexual assaults at colleges and universities across Texas. Monday's 30-1 vote sends it to the Texas House.

Watson has proposed a series of bills designed to prevent a repeat of the events at Baylor University, which was found to have mishandled reports of assault for years.

The fallout led to the firing of Baylor football coach Art Briles and the demotion and eventual departure of university President Ken Starr.

Baylor is now facing federal lawsuits from several women, as well as criminal and civil rights investigations.

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