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"It has to come from students for it to really sort of get ahold and really start impacting their attitudes and to really start impacting their behavior," he said.
It's difficult to say just how prevalent sexual assault is on college campuses.
Hertel said he hopes the bill will get a committee hearing soon.
“I think this is really, honestly, just trying to teach people basic respect for their partners and basic respect for other people’s bodies,” he said.
The five Grand Rapids-area colleges - Aquinas College, Calvin College, Davenport University, Ferris State University and Grand Rapids Community College - are using the grants to launch programs and educate students about sexual consent and resources for sexual assault victims.
"Ideally, it wouldn't be an issue on college campuses," said Deirdre Honner, director of employee relations at Calvin College.
Those low numbers, and the doubt many experts cast upon them, were highlighted in a new report by the American Association of University Women.
The report found that 91 percent of colleges - a figure that includes community colleges and non-residential commuter campuses - reported no incidents of rape in 2014, a figure that authors of the report said requires "additional scrutiny." "Schools that report zero rapes have work to do and require additional scrutiny," the AAUW report said.
Parents would also still be able to pull their kids out of the sex education class.
"When campuses report zero incidents of rape, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, it simply does not square with research, campus climate surveys, and widespread experiences reported by students." The Clery act collects statistics on two types of forcible sex offenses: rape and fondling.
Colleges also are required to submit figures on domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
Under the method, students are trained to effectively intervene if they see a friend or fellow students in a scenario where they are susceptible to sexual assault.
Another way is generating more awareness of what constitutes sexual consent.