Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Elizabeth (Izzy) Graziano, Senior News Editor

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Across the United States, sexual assault cases on college campuses have recently skyrocketed, attracting national attention and news coverage. Three days after the White House released a Sexual Assault Task Force’s report, the Department of Education publicized a list of fifty-five colleges and universities under investigation for violating the Title IX Law, which intends to prohibit gender discrimination at institutions that receive federal aid. In response to the spike in on-campus sexual violence, the Department of Education released this list, which included Ohio State, Boston University, and Harvard, to “bring more transparency to [our] enforcement work and to foster better public awareness and civil rights.” While students who suffer sexual attacks at school generally file assault complaints, many colleges and universities struggle to address each case quickly and thoroughly. In 2010, a student at Boston’s prestigious Tufts University filed a sexual assault complaint, and four years later, the Department of Education revealed that the University had “failed to provide a prompt and equitable response to the student’s complaint.” Additionally, when a Towson University student fell victim to gang rape at a Johns Hopkins University fraternity house in spring 2013, neither school entertained investigation or punishment initiatives. To combat this rising trend in sexual violence among college students, many schools have implemented workshops on sexual assault education, hoping to prevent and protect against further incidents. At Oklahoma State University, the admissions board will deny the registration of any freshman who does not successfully complete a forty-minute online course that explores the intricacies of sexual assault and teaches preventative strategies. Similarly, when students register at Dartmouth College, they now have to complete an Internet workshop called Haven, which discusses the definition and avoidance of stalking and harassment. While these courses mainly focus on preventative strategies and coping mechanisms, they also educate witnesses and bystanders on how they can help the victim and prevent repeat situations. By implementing these mandatory informational programs, colleges seek to raise awareness about the dangers of sexual assault, with the hope that knowledge will deter this epidemic.

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