TIME Health Care

Report: Cost of HealthCare.Gov Approaching $1 Billion

Marketplace guide Jim Prim works on the Healthcare.gov federal enrollment website as he helps a resident sign up for a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act at an enrollment event in Milford, Delaware on March 27, 2014.
Marketplace guide Jim Prim works on the Healthcare.gov federal enrollment website as he helps a resident sign up for a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act at an enrollment event in Milford, Delaware on March 27, 2014. Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images

GAO Report places cost overrun blame squarely on the shoulders of the federal government

Correction appended July 30, 9:22 p.m. ET

Federal officials badly managed the development of a website to sell health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, potentially costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns, according to testimony that will be delivered to a House subcommittee on Thursday.

In prepared remarks posted online Wednesday, William T. Woods, an official at the General Accounting Office, says HealthCare.gov, a federal website charged with managing new individual health plans for consumers in 36 states, was marred by inadequate oversight by officials from the Department of Health and Human Services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an HHS agency in charge of the insurance website, “undertook the development of HealthCare.gov and its related systems without effective planning or oversight practices, despite facing a number of challenges that increased both the level of risk and the need for effective oversight,” according to Woods.

Details of Woods’ testimony were first reported by the Associated Press. The GAO conducted its investigation of HealthCare.gov at the request of the Investigations and Oversight subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

As became obvious in the days and weeks after HealthCare.gov launched on Oct. 1, 2013, the website was hobbled by technical problems and software glitches that prevented consumers from signing up for health plans until a repair effort was undertaken months later. The episode was a significant embarrassment for the Obama Administration, which had promised buying health plans through the website would be akin to purchasing any other goods or services on the Internet. Contractors charged with building HealthCare.gov and a data hub meant to verify identities, eligibility and income used to calculate federal subsidies had not completed their work by the time the site launched, according to Woods’ testimony. But the GAO placed blame on federal officials for not anticipating problems that would occur and for incurring significant cost increases as well as improperly approving additional spending.

According to Woods’ testimony, the cost of building one part of HealthCare.gov increased from $56 million to more than $209 million between September 2011 and February 2014. Expenses for the associated data hub ballooned from $30 million to $85 million. Woods says that by March 2014, CMS reported “obligating $840 million for the development of HealthCare.gov and its supporting systems.”

Federal officials, according to Woods, delayed assessing whether HealthCare.gov was ready for launch from March 2013 to September 2013, noting that this was just weeks before the site went live. Software experts have said in the months since HealthCare.gov launched and crashed that such a short window is far too narrow to evaluate a brand new, complex system like a new national website to sell health insurance and dole out federal subsidies to those who qualify.

As it became clear that the building of HealthCare.gov was not going smoothly, Woods says federal officials approved additional expenditures to contractors, including CGI Federal, the lead company hired to build the website. The GAO, he says, found approximately 40 instances in which CMS employees approved additional spending totaling $30 million.

“This is not to say the work was not necessary,” says Woods, “however, the work was not approved properly.”

As HealthCare.gov’s launch approached and CMS officials had the chance to withhold major funds from contractors, they chose not to. To save HealthCare.gov after its failed launch, HHS hired the firm Accenture to continue work on the website. But that contract, too, has cost far more than planned. According to Woods’ testimony, the $91 million contract awarded to Accenture in January 2014 increased to $175 million by June 5.

Eventually, HealthCare.gov was repaired and some 8 million Americans signed up for health plans through the federal website and 14 others run by individual states by the spring of 2014.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described how 8 million people signed up for new health care plans following the passage of the Affordable Care Act. They used the exchange created by the federal government, Healthcare.Gov, and 14 exchanges run by the individual states.

TIME Health Care

What the New Obamacare Court Decisions Mean for You

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks before signing the H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. during an event in the Eisonhower Executive Building, July 22, 2014 in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks before signing the H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. during an event in the Eisonhower Executive Building, July 22, 2014 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Two federal courts, two conflicted rulings. What does it all mean?

On Tuesday, two federal courts issued rulings on President Obama’s healthcare law. Here’s what you need to know about how the rulings affect you:

What did the courts say?

A panel in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not allow the federal government to distribute insurance subsidies through a federal exchange being used in 36 states. Many states declined to set up their own insurance exchanges, forcing the federal government to set up its own central exchange where subsidized plans are sold. The D.C. court said that only people living in those states with their own exchanges are eligible for federal subsidies, due to ambiguities in the language of the ACA.

But in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, judges reached the opposite conclusion. That panel ruled that the federal government does have the authority to hand out insurance subsidies through the federal exchange, and always intended subsidies to be available to any eligible individual in the U.S., regardless of who is running the exchange.

What happens next?

The federal government will appeal the D.C. court ruling and plaintiffs in the identical case in the Fourth Circuit will also likely appeal. The issue is likely to remain unsettled for many months.

What does this mean for Americans currently getting insurance through the ACA?

Nothing yet. With conflicting rulings on the same day and appeals certain, the status quo will remain in place — for now.

But if the D.C. ruling ends up being upheld and the Fourth Circuit overturned, the consequences would be immense. By 2016, more than 7 million people are set to receive ACA insurance subsidies through the federal exchange at the center of each of Tuesday’s rulings. These subsidies are now under threat, and could disappear in those 36 states if the D.C. ruling is upheld on appeal.

Without subsidies, millions in those states could see their insurance premiums go up dramatically. The ACA requires most Americans to have health insurance but only if they can afford it. Without subsidies, coverage for millions would become unaffordable. Removing these people from the health insurance pool could destabilize premiums for everyone else.

What would that mean for Obamacare?

It would be a hammer blow, if the D.C. ruling stands. The government would no longer be able to distribute insurance subsidies in those 36 states, unless those states opted to set up their own exchanges. That would be unlikely, since many of the states that declined to set up exchanges did so in protest at the ACA. The subsidy system is a central feature of Obamacare and Democrats’ plan to expand insurance coverage to low- and middle-income Americans.

Opponents of the law have sued over the ACA before. What makes this case different?

A ruling that threatens to strip insurance subsidies from millions of Americans is the most significant threat to Obamacare since it overcame the challenge to its constitutionality in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 — though that same ruling made its Medicaid expansion optional and not mandatory, blocking millions of low-income Americans from coverage. Legal arguments made against Obamacare since have not struck at the heart of the law’s goal of expanding coverage. The recent Hobby Lobby lawsuit, for example, only affected contraception coverage for some employer health plans.

TIME Immigration

The Family Fireworks Sellers of South Texas

Around the Fourth of July, a few families near the Mexican border devote their lives to selling sparklers

When it came time to name Nelson Zamora, his paternal Mexican grandmother had just one request: give him a name that sounds American, but is easy to pronounce in Spanish. Like many Americans with roots in Mexico, Nelson and his wife Cynthia Fuentes straddle two worlds, even if they mostly stay on one side of the border.

In Mission, Texas, a small city not far from the southern border where Nelson and Cynthia live, the demarcation between the U.S. and Mexico can seem fluid. Travelers pass back and forth, sometimes legally through a checkpoint and sometimes in the dark of night through the waters of the Rio Grande. Cynthia has seen new arrivals around town, mothers with babies looking dazed and others desperately in need of water. She helps when she can.

Every summer since 1998, Cynthia and Nelson, who were both born in Texas, have operated a stall selling fireworks for the Fourth of July. Fireworks are illegal in the state, except at this time of year and just before New Year’s Eve.

Working on 20 percent commission, the couple can earn as much as $3,000 a season. “We’ve made good money,” says Cynthia. “It’s kept us coming back.”

When they’re not selling fireworks, Cynthia runs a home-based business making and selling piñatas. Nelson drives a forklift for a citrus company, seasonal work that won’t begin again until August. To accommodate their daughter and two grandchildren who’ve come with them to the fireworks stall this year, Cynthia and Nelson built a makeshift camper in the bed of their pickup truck. They are required to stay on site 24 hours a day.

“We brought our AC from the house, the television and the DVD for the kids,” says Cynthia. “It’s fun. We’re all together and we’re talking.”

On July 4th, after the last customers have gone, Cynthia and Nelson will buy some fireworks for themselves, close up the stall and go celebrate American independence as a family.

TIME Immigration

A California City Revolts Against Undocumented Immigrants

What one California city's struggle means for the rest of the country

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Being the mayor of Murrieta, Calif., is only a part-time job, and Alan Long, who’s held the post since January, earns his living as a battalion chief in a nearby fire department. There, he’s in charge of emergency management and preparedness, skills that have been particularly handy in recent days.

Now Long and Murrieta, a midsize city about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, have become a new flash point in the fierce and often contentious debate over how to handle a recent crush of children and families streaming across the Mexican border. In what’s been called a humanitarian crisis, from October 2013 to June 2014, more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors were caught illegally crossing the border, according to federal officials. More than half of the children came from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, seeking refuge from violence in their home countries and lured by rumors that it’s easy to obtain legal status in the U.S.

The tidal wave has prompted border-patrol offices in Texas, overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of children and families, to transfer undocumented immigrants to processing facilities in other states. The move has raised concerns that a broken federal immigration system is burdening local communities far beyond the border.

This concern came to a head Tuesday, when protesters in Murrieta confronted several buses transporting 140 immigrants to a border-patrol center there. The passengers — presumably all undocumented and said to be children and parents — had been apprehended in Texas and flown to San Diego when they boarded buses bound for Murrieta. But facing a roadside crowd stationed blocks from the processing center and carrying signs that said, “Stop Illegal Immigration,” “Return to Sender” and “No New Illegals,” the border-patrol agents on board turned back and went to a center in San Diego instead.

“I wasn’t surprised the protest happened,” Long told TIME in an interview. Rumors of the immigrants’ arrival had been swirling in the city for weeks. On Monday, Long held a news conference in which he confirmed that 140 immigrants would land in San Diego at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and travel by bus to Murrieta that afternoon. Long said he never intended to incite a protest and that local residents most concerned about the immigrant transfer already knew about it, even without his announcement. He said he was just trying bat down false information being passed around the community — including that the immigrants on the way were criminals or carrying diseases — and present the hard facts.

“I’m getting credit for organizing this protest, but I’ve never organized or told people to protest,” Long said.

Rather, he said he hoped to encourage Murrieta residents to contact elected officials in Washington and urge them to repair the immigration system and beef up border enforcement. Calls from Murrieta to members of Congress may have taken place at Long’s urging, but the protest itself has garnered far more attention and been held up by anti-illegal-immigration activists as proof that locals can stand their ground against the intrusion of undocumented immigrants and by immigrant-rights activists as an example of xenophobia and compassionless behavior at its worst.

Long, who was born in the U.S. but is ethnically half-Mexican, said Murrieta residents are concerned that a large influx of undocumented immigrants will strain local resources. Judging by comments made by some residents at Long’s Monday news conference, they’re also concerned that undocumented immigrants will be released into their community en masse. “They’re going to be dumped in minivans throughout the county,” one woman present said.

Immigrants like those on the bus to Murrieta typically face three possible scenarios, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If they are a threat to public safety or national security, they could be detained. Those who are not eligible to attain legal status could be deported, although that process often takes time. If they are not a threat, pass background checks and health screenings and have a claim that they could obtain legal status, they could be released into a community in California or elsewhere and monitored while their application is reviewed. Monitoring, according to ICE, can include electronic bracelets, in-person required check-ins, voice-recognition telephonic software or in-home visits by immigration officials. Immigrants who believe they may be able to attain legal status risk that if they do not comply with monitoring requirements.

It’s not clear whether the border patrol will try to transport another group of immigrants to Murrieta. But already, Long said, more rumors in the community are swirling.

“We are a very compassionate community,” Long said. “We understand these immigrants are coming from a less desirable location. It’s not about them. We’re opposing the federal system that’s broken.”

TIME White House

White House Chooses Congressional Fight Over Hobby Lobby Decision

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The White House denounced the Supreme Court’s decision Monday to allow for-profit companies to refuse payment for certain employee birth control insurance coverage because of religious objections. “Today’s decision jeopardizes the health of women that are employed by these companies,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

But Earnest quickly added that President Obama, who has been touring the country promoting his ability to work around Congress, plans no immediate executive actions to remedy the situation created by the Hobby Lobby ruling. “The Supreme Court was ruling on the application of a specific law that was passed by Congress,” Earnest said. “So what we’d like is for Congress to take action to pass another law that would address this problem.”

This is a notable departure in strategy for the White House that is likely to increase the visibility of the issue in an election year, while delaying the arrival of a solution for those women who will now be denied certain contraceptive coverage. All signs Monday pointed to the fact that Democrats would rather stage a political fight over the issue than quickly resolve it for the affected women. Both the Democratic Party and the White House Twitter accounts spend much of the day rallying people to outrage on social media over the decision. “It’s time that five men on the Supreme Court stop deciding what happens to women,” tweeted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Legal observers say it would not be difficult for the Obama Administration to resolve the situation unilaterally. The Department of Health and Human Services has already taken unilateral executive action to ensure that women employed by religious nonprofits get contraception coverage in cases where the employer declines to pay. “There was nothing in the statute that specifically allowed them to create the exemption for non-profit organizations so I don’t see why they couldn’t extend that to for-profit corporations,” said Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University and an expert on the Affordable Care Act’s regulations. “I don’t know why they couldn’t do it themselves.”

In fact, in a concurring opinion at the Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy recognized Obama’s unilateral powers as a rationale for allowing the for-profit companies to opt out of the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. “In other instances the Government has allowed the same contraception coverage in issue here to be provided to employees of nonprofit religious organizations,” Kennedy wrote. “The accommodations works by requiring insurance companies to cover, without cost sharing, contraception coverage for female employees who wish it.”

But the White House has chosen to first try for a legislative fix in Congress, where the chances of success are slim at best. Republicans are mostly united in praising the Supreme Court result, all but foreclosing chances that a change in the law makes its way through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where most GOP lawmakers still back repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Polls suggest that the issue could benefit Democrats in the election year. A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted over the last month found that only 35% of the country believes that employers should be able to decide what kind of contraceptives their health plan provides for employees based on religious beliefs. By contrast, 53% of the country opposed giving employers that power.

The White House, meanwhile, is leaving open the option for unilateral executive action, but only once Congress fails. “We’ll consider whether or not there is a range of other options that may be available that don’t require legislative action,” Earnest said, declining to put a timeframe on the review.

 

TIME Health Care

4 Reasons the Supreme Court Contraception Ruling Means Less Than You Think

Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Protesters
Anti-abortion demonstrators cheer as the ruling for Hobby Lobby was announced outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on June 30, 2014. Jonathan Ernst—Reuters

The justices who supported it tried hard to limit the decision’s scope

When the Supreme Court ruled Monday that some corporations could opt out of providing insurance coverage for contraception, the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America characterized the decision as “a slippery slope with no end.” But a close look at the ruling reveals that the five justices who supported it tried hard to limit the decision’s scope. Here’s why the 5-4 ruling means less than you might think:

The ruling only applies to “closely held” corporations

According to the IRS, a company is closely held if five or fewer people own more than half the corporation. A family-owned private business like Hobby Lobby qualifies, but most publicly traded for-profit corporations do not. Some critics of the decision point out that more than 90% of all corporations in the U.S. are “closely held,” but a significant portion of these are so small they are not subject to the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that’s the subject of the Hobby Lobby case anyway. The so-called employer mandate says companies with 50 or more workers must provide health insurance.

Women who work for Hobby Lobby had, and still have, full insurance coverage for most types of birth control

Although the Supreme Court ruling opens the door for closely held companies to make other future objections based on religious beliefs, Hobby Lobby’s individual position is less extreme than many believe. The company objects to paying for morning-after pills and inter-uterine devices, but freely provides insurance that covers tubal ligation, birth control pills, condoms, diaphragms and contraception delivered via a patch or ring inserted into the cervix. More than 80% of all contraception users in the U.S. rely on these methods.

Employees of Hobby Lobby may still be able to get 100% insurance coverage for all types of birth control—it just won’t be paid for by the company

The Supreme Court ruling means Hobby Lobby does not have to pay for contraception it objects to on religious grounds, but the federal government is free to provide such coverage, and could easily do so. When the Obama Administration said in 2012 that large nonprofit religious institutions like Catholic hospitals and colleges did not have to provide birth control coverage, it created a mechanism for insurers to provide the coverage without the employers paying premiums to support it. Such compromises have characterized the Administration’s approach to balancing religious liberty with the Affordable Care Act’s rules on birth control and abortion coverage. But there are some circumstances that remain unclear. In a case still pending in the courts, a nonprofit religious organization, Little Sisters of the Poor, has refused to sign a form that would essentially allow it to opt out of providing birth control coverage so that another entity could provide it instead. Doing so, the group says, is akin to signing “a permission slip” for birth control and abortion. It seems unlikely that Monday’s ruling will settle the issues in that case; the Supreme Court could rule on it next term.

The court appeared to rule out using the Hobby Lobby decision to argue in the future that employers can object to covering drugs, devices, treatments and procedures not related to birth control

In the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs.”

TIME abortion

Why Abortion Clinic Protestors May Not Matter

Pro-life activists gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court June 26, 2014 in Washington.
Pro-life activists gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court June 26, 2014 in Washington. Win McNamee—Getty Images

Gauging the impact of a new Supreme Court ruling is difficult

Are they allowed to do this? Are they going to hurt me? Will they be here when I’m done?

Michelle Kinsey Bruns is used to being asked these questions when she volunteers as an abortion clinic escort. Women seeking abortions at clinics across the country often must pass by protestors carrying signs, pamphlets and sometimes even megaphones. In response, many clinics employ or seek volunteers like Bruns to usher women seeking abortions through the gauntlet.

In an effort to further shield women from protestors, Massachusetts enacted a law in 2007 that created a 35-foot buffer zone outside clinics and barred anti-abortion activists from entering it. The Supreme Court unanimously struck down that law Thursday, saying it violated the First Amendment rights of protestors. In effect, the ruling means that women in Massachusetts and across the country are likely to have more contact with anti-abortion protestors in the future. What’s not clear, however, is if more contact—regardless of proximity to patients—will have an impact beyond upsetting women. In short, do protestors actually dissuade women from terminating pregnancies?

It’s hard to say. Academics who study the effects of anti-abortion protestors on women’s decision-making say it’s difficult to collect data on women who may change their minds as a result of protestors. These women may never have contact with abortion providers or researchers studying the topic. But on a related subject—the effect of protestors on women’s states of mind—there is more data.

A 2013 study published in the journal Contraception found that protestors affect the emotional state of women entering abortion clinics. The study, by researchers at the Bixby Center for Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco, included interviews with almost 1,000 women who had abortions and were asked whether contact with protestors affected them emotionally. Of the women who saw protestors outside clinics, 41% reported feeling upset because of it. In addition, the more contact women had with protestors, the more upset they felt. But asked if the protestors impacted their feelings about actually having abortions, the women reported their feelings were the same regardless.

“Protestors are upsetting, but they don’t have an effect on women’s long-term feelings about their abortions,” says Dianna Greene Foster, the study’s lead author. “A woman’s reasons for having an abortion are much more salient than the brief yelling or talking from protestors.” Earlier academic research reached the same conclusion.

In the absence of hard data, anecdotal evidence suggests that some women arrive at abortion clinics and opt not to enter due to the presence of protestors. Anti-abortion protestors routinely claim they talk women out of terminating pregnancies. “I can’t refute that,” says Tammi Kromenaker, executive director of the Red River Women’s Clinic, the only abortion provider in North Dakota.

Kromenaker has security cameras outside her facility and has seen, on monitors set up inside, some women turn back while protestors are crowding the sidewalk outside. “I know there have been women intimidated out of coming into the building. I see them leave and I see the protestors hug each other,” Kromenaker says. But sometimes, she adds, “that woman calls us the next day and says, ‘Can I reschedule for next week?’” On the flip side, Kromenaker says, “If somebody you don’t know outside a clinic made you change your mind, then good, you didn’t want an abortion in the first place.”

In a brief filed on behalf of anti-abortion protestors who initiated the Massachusetts buffer zone case, the lead petitioner, Eleanor McCullen, is described as a grandmother in her 70s “who aims to stand on public sidewalks near abortion clinics in order to reach this unique audience, at a unique moment, in a compassionate and non-confrontational way.”

While the behavior of anti-abortion protestors at clinics varies widely, clinic owners and volunteers who escort patients inside say confrontation is common. A protestor at Kromenaker’s clinic once followed a patient inside and only left after Kromenaker threatened him with a stun gun. (He was subsequently arrested for trespassing and ordered to stay at least 50 ft. away from the clinic.) Renee Bracey Sherman, a graduate student who volunteers as an escort at abortion clinics in Washington, D.C., and Hagerstown, Md., says women seeking abortions are often visibly unnerved by shouts from protestors. “I know there’s a discussion about them counseling people, however, I’ve never seen someone counsel. They yell, they say very horrendous things. It’s never actually, ‘Hey, let’s just talk about your options,’” Sherman says. “I’ve seen patients going into the clinics crying, just terrified.”

Bruns, who writes the Twitter feed @ClinicEscort, which has more than 15,000 followers, has volunteered as an escort for five years in clinics in eight states. “The fact of the matter is that anti-choice rhetoric is deeply embedded in the American mind—that abortion is a horrible, brutal thing that’s dangerous,” Bruns says. “And women turn up anyway. When they see a crowd of protestors shouting with video cameras, it gives them a moment’s pause, but they keep coming. They may cry, but they have already make their decision.”

As the Supreme Court ruling makes clear, however, making someone cry is not illegal. Abortion is a constitutionally protected right, and so is saying it’s morally wrong, even if you say it loudly—so long as you are standing on a public sidewalk.

TIME Education

Report: California Colleges Must Do More to Combat Sexual Violence

Stanford And Berkeley Rank Among Top 3 Universities In The World
Pedestrians walk by Sather Gate on the UC Berkeley campus on May 22, 2014 in Berkeley, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

A report from a state auditor says some California colleges aren't complying with the law

Some key employees at California’s public colleges and universities are not adequately trained to handle reports of sexual violence and harassment, according to a report by the state’s auditor published Tuesday. The report also said about one-fifth of students at the four campuses surveyed were unaware of college resources available to victims of sexual assault and harassment.

The report, which recommends the California legislature amend state law to increase training and awareness campaigns on campuses, comes as the issue of sexual violence at colleges and universities has reached a new level of public consciousness. Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California, announced on June 20 she was creating a new task force to guide efforts to combat sexual violence and harassment on the system’s campuses. The Obama Administration created a White House task force on the issue back in January.

The California report was generated in part as a response to accusations that officials at the University of California, Berkeley underreported sex crimes and were slow to investigate allegations of sexual assault. These accusations were leveled in complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, helping land Berkeley on a list of more than 50 higher education institutions now under federal investigation.

The most recent complaint, filed in February, came from 31 current and former students who said the university did not investigate sexual assault allegations in a timely manner and did not keep alleged victims informed of the progress of investigations. (The University has since issued a new policy on sexual misconduct.) In April 2013, a student government group at Berkeley issued a “no confidence” vote on the university’s disciplinary policies and procedures related to sexual assault.

The 113-page report says none of the four high education institutions studied—the University of California at Los Angeles; the University of California, Berkeley; California State University, Chico; and San Diego State University—distributed a sexual harassment policy to all employees on an annual basis, a violation of state law. The auditor also found uneven compliance with an earlier state legislature recommendation that colleges provide targeted education about sexual assault and rape to certain student groups. Fraternities and sororities at Berkeley and student athletes at San Diego State University, for example, provided no such education programs in any of the last five academic years, according to the report.

Three of the campuses studied also provided inadequate education to incoming students about how to file administrative complaints and criminal charges. And while the auditor noted that many university and college employees charged with handling complaints about sexual assault and rape were adequately informed about proper procedures, some “front line” employees likely to first hear about such incidents, such as resident advisers, were not. Making sure these ground-level personnel know how to report incidents and direct victims to the proper authorities and offices is crucial, says Abigail Boyer, assistant executive director of programs for the Clery Center for Security on Campus, a non-profit advocacy group.

“A lot of times the first person someone will go to or disclose to may not be someone in campus police or security, but may be someone they already trust,” says Boyer. “No matter where a report or disclosure comes in, you want that person to be prepared to respond and know what resources are available in the community.”

Meanwhile, a bill now in the California state legislature is intended to help clarify when illegal sexual contact takes place. It would require universities and colleges in the state to adopt policies requiring that those engaged in sexual activity do so only with the “affirmative consent” of all parties involved. This new standard is meant to ensure sexual contact, including that which takes place under the influence of drugs and alcohol, includes clear and often verbal communication about what’s happening as it happens. According to the legislation, which has already been passed by the state Senate:

“Affirmative consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity … Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.”

TIME China

Tank Man at 25: Behind the Iconic Tiananmen Square Photo

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In the spring of 1989, Jeff Widener was working for the Associated Press in Beijing, where political turmoil around student protests was escalating.

On June 4, the Chinese government cracked down hard, killing some students who had gathered in Tiananmen Square. The next morning, Widener was dispatched to the unfolding chaos. With film rolls stuffed down his pants and camera equipment hidden in his jacket, he made his way to a sixth-floor room of a hotel on the edge of the plaza.

Then suddenly, something caught his attention: A column of tanks rolling by, and a man carrying shopping bags, who had just stepped out in front of them.

“I assume he thinks he’s going to die,” remembers Widener. “But he doesn’t care, because for whatever reason—either he’s lost a loved one or he’s just had it with the government, or whatever it is—his statement is more important than his own life.”

The result is an iconic picture of defiance in the face of aggression. “I was just relieved that I didn’t mess up,” says Widener, whose photograph appeared on the front pages of newspapers the next day from New York to London and has been known since as one of the greatest news photographs of all time.

Read more: Tank Man at 25: Behind the Iconic Tiananmen Square Photo – LightBox.

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