Sanders: Law enforcement should handle campus rape
© Getty Images

Bernie SandersBernie SandersAssange bashes Dems: The party ‘is doomed’ Sunday shows preview: Senate healthcare debate heats up UK Labour leader has ‘message on the wall’ for Trump MORE called for all rape accusations on college campuses to be handled through law enforcement, a controversial stance that puts him at odds with many advocates. 

Decrying rape and sexual assault on campuses as an "epidemic," he said schools must not try to handle the issue internally. 

ADVERTISEMENT
"Rape and assault is rape or assault whether it takes place on a campus or a dark street," he said Monday at the Black and Brown Presidential Forum in Iowa.  

"If a student rapes another student it has got to be understood as a very serious crime, it has to get outside of the school and have a police investigation and that has to take place."

He added that too many schools are treating it as a "student issue" instead of referring accusations to law enforcement and added that victims shouldn't have to be in classes with their rapists. 

But the idea of mandatory law enforcement referral has long been met by with skepticism by advocates trying to stop sexual assaults on college campuses. Ninety percent of survivors polled by the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and Know Your IX said they wanted to have the choice of whether to report or to whom, while 80 percent agreed that mandatory police reporting could "have a chilling effect on reporting." 

Sanders's campaign did not respond to requests to clarify the senator's comments.