Lack of transparency, accountability and rape kits: 19 Essential Reads on Sexual Assault on College Campuses

(Scene of Duke University. Source: Creative Commons).

It’s a weighty issue that has taken higher education by storm, spurring public debate on the failings of what many claim are secretive and unaccountable college judicial systems.

There’s also been some great reporting on it.

Here’s a list of 19 #muckreads I think are essential to getting a good grounding on the complex matters that arise when allegations of sexual assault come about on a college campus.

1)  After Their Daughter Is Murdered at College, Her Grieving Parents Mount a Crusade for Campus Safety by Ken Gross, Andrea Fine (People Magazine, February 19, 1990)

“The last time Constance and Howard Clery saw their daughter, a sunny Lehigh University freshman, was on an April morning in 1986 when they dropped her off at her Pennsylvania campus after spring break. Five days later Jeanne Ann Clery, 19, was found dead in her third-floor dorm, murdered by a fellow student. ”

2) Other Duke players, parents file lawsuit: Uncharged Devils cite ‘malicious’ probe by Jeff Barker (Baltimore Sun, 

“For years, they had met over sandwiches and Bloody Marys at tailgate parties before their sons’ games. But yesterday, parents of the 2006 Duke lacrosse team gathered for a more somber purpose: to announce a federal court suit against the university and others for ‘tremendous suffering’ endured after three players were falsely accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a party.”

3) Sexual Assault on Campus (Series by the Center for Public Integrity and NPR, beginning with this February 2010 article, ‘A lack of consequences for sexual assault’)

“Students found ‘responsible’ for sexual assaults on campus often face little or no punishment from school judicial systems, while their victims’ lives are frequently turned upside down, according to a year-long investigation by the Center for Public Integrity. Administrators believe the sanctions administered by the college judiciary system are a thoughtful way to hold abusive students accountable, but the Center’s probe has discovered that “responsible” findings rarely lead to tough punishments like expulsion — even in cases involving alleged repeat offenders.

4) Jury Verdict in Sex-Assault Case at Sewanee Sends Warning to Private Colleges by Collin Eaton (Chronicle of Higher Education, September 2, 2011)

“A jury ruling on Friday against a private university illustrates how institutions can open themselves up to legal challenges if—amid rising pressure to resolve sexual­-assault cases—they fail to seek balance in disciplinary procedures for handling those cases, several experts said.”

5) Crime on Campus: Penn State Raises Question, Do Colleges Have Too Much Power? by Kayla Webley (Time Magazine, November 14, 2011)

“But despite having such responsibility, disclosing campus crime has often been a process fraught with confusion, loopholes, inaction, inconsistencies and, in some cases, negligence and cover-ups. To date, seven colleges and universities have paid Clery Act fines for failure to comply with the law; sometimes the violation stemmed from not having the appropriate institutional structures in place, sometimes from failing to disclose information. ”

6) Reported sexual assault at Notre Dame campus leaves more questions than answers by Melinda Henneberger (National Catholic Reporter, March 26, 2012)

“What she eventually did tell both her therapist and her friend that night — then committed to paper, in a handwritten statement she and the other young woman carefully signed, dated and handed over to campus police the next day, is that a Notre Dame football player sexually assaulted her in his room after two other students left them alone there. Yet Notre Dame police, who have jurisdiction to investigate even the most serious crimes on campus, still had not interviewed him when she committed suicide 10 days later — and wouldn’t for another five days.”

7) Yale Faces $165,000 Clery Act Fine For Failing To Report Sex Offenses On Campus by Tyler Kingkade (Huffington Post, May 16, 2013)

“Yale University faces a fine of $165,000 from the U.S. Department of Education for “serious and numerous” Clery Act violations, including failing to report forcible sex offenses. Yale failed to report a total of four forcible sex offenses in its campus crime statistics for 2001 and 2002, according to an April 19 letter from Mary E. Gust, director of administrative actions and appeals service group at the DOE. As a result, the department is fining the university $27,500 for each offense, the letter said.”

“At a rally outside the U.S. Department of Education on Monday, protesters called on the agency to hold colleges more accountable for sexual assaults on their campuses and to “be more punitive” when they fail to support victims.”

9) In epidemic of campus sex crimes, LGBT cases often neglected by 

“Amid a growing debate over sexual violence on campus, one community has mostly been absent from the conversation: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

“We’ve made LGBT people invisible in this country for decades,” said Sharon Stapel, the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, a nonprofit group that advocates for LGBT issues. “Women are conditioned to think that sexual violence is their issue. We really have to look at who is the victim.”

10) Berkeley students allege university mishandles sexual assault cases by  (Al-Jazeera America, February 26, 2014)

“The women filed their complaint with the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights under Title IX, a federal civil rights law passed in 1972 that prohibits sex discrimination in any school or school activity that receives federal funds. The law can also be applied to sexual assault in certain cases. Indeed, the Department of Education in 2011 sent a guidance letter to all institutions, instructing them that “sexual harassment of students, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”

11)  Lack of on-campus ‘rape kits’ necessitates forensic exams in Oakland for student sexual assault cases by  (Daily Cal, March 11, 2014)

“When a UC Berkeley student is sexually assaulted and reports the crime to police, the collection of biological evidence does not start at the campus health center but in a hospital in the next city over. Along with all UC health clinics, UC Berkeley’s Tang Center does not provide medical forensic exams or evidence collection kits, often colloquially called “rape kits.”

12) A Star Player Accused, and a Flawed Rape Investigation by 

For nearly a year, the events of that evening remained a well-kept secret until the woman’s allegations burst into the open, roiling the university and threatening a prized asset: Jameis Winston, one of the marquee names of college football.”

13) Promise Unfulfilled? By Jonah Newman and Libby Sander (Chronicle of Higher Education, April 30, 2014)

“In a recent surge of demands that colleges step up their response to rape, students have put their faith in the federal civil-rights law known as Title IX. Meant to prohibit sex discrimination, the law requires colleges to investigate and resolve reports of sexual misconduct—including assault—whether or not the police are involved. It has inspired the name of an informal national network of self-described survivors (the IX Network) and a grassroots campaign to end sexual violence on campus (Know Your IX). Two women who filed a federal complaint against their university last year, alleging that it mishandled their cases, had the law’s Roman numerals tattooed on their ankles.”

14) Fight Against Sexual Assaults Holds Colleges to Account b 3, 2014)

“…23 students filed a complaint with the federal government, saying that Columbia’s handling of sexual misconduct violated federal law.

Increasingly, stories like this are playing out at colleges across the country, as more victims go public, more of them file formal federal complaints, a new network of activists makes shrewd use of the law and the media, and the Obama administration steps up pressure on colleges.”

15) More college men are fighting back against sexual misconduct cases by TERESA WATANABE (June 7, 2014, Los Angeles Times)

“All three young men claimed the encounters were consensual — but the women asserted otherwise.

In each case, campus officials found the men responsible for sexual assault and expelled or suspended them.

But all three are pushing back, suing the schools on charges that their rights to a fair hearing were violated. As universities and colleges launch intensified efforts against sexual misconduct, more cases are shifting from campuses to courtrooms.”

16) The Woman Behind #SurvivorPrivilege Was Kicked Out Of School After Being Raped by Tyler Kingkade (Huffington Post, June 12, 2014)

“Wanjuki first became public as a survivor in 2009, when she was a student at Tufts University in Massachusetts. Wanjuki says she was assaulted multiple times by a fellow Tufts student she was in a relationship with, but when she tried in 2008 to report him for a campus adjudication, the university told her their legal counsel said they didn’t have to take action.”

17) Why, Exactly, Are Colleges So Bad at Dealing with Rape? by KAT STOEFFEL (New York Magazine, July 2014)

“Feminist and men’s rights activists — two groups not known to agree — each call the sexual assault disciplinary process inadequate, arguing that it perpetuates slut-shaming rape culture (according to one side) or the so-called war on men and their due process (according to the other). From the outside, it looks like a paradox: How can campus adjudication be simultaneously stacked against the wrongfully accused AND so traumatic for righteous accusers it scares them away from reporting their assaults?”

18) 20% of Colleges Flout Federal Law in Handling Sexual Assault, Report Finds BY KATIE SOLA (Mashable.com, July 16, 2014)

Among other shortcomings, the report, released last Wednesday, finds… the phenomenon of athletic departments investigating allegations against their own student athletes to be common practice.”

19) Reporting Rape, and Wishing She Hadn’t How One College Handled a Sexual Assault Complaint  12, 2014)

“Whatever precisely happened that September night, the internal records, along with interviews with students, sexual-assault experts and college officials, depict a school ill prepared to evaluate an allegation so serious that, if proved in a court of law, would be a felony, with a likely prison sentence. As the case illustrates, school disciplinary panels are a world unto themselves, operating in secret with scant accountability and limited protections for the accuser or the accused.”

Other recommended reading:

it happens here: a magazine about sexual violence at amherst college ~ trigger warning

In Sexual-Misconduct Policies, Difficulty Arises in Defining ‘Yes.’ (The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 30 2014). This is only available to Chronicle of Higher Education subscribers, but goes into detail about the troubles colleges have in defining what “yes” means.

* The National Center for Higher Education Risk Management Group has a huge list of articles in which they’ve been quoted – it’s where I found a few of these articles.

Are there any articles you think should be on the list? If so, suggest them in the comments below!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s