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Thursday, May 1, 2014

These 55 Schools Are So Terrible At Handling Sexual Assault The Government Is Stepping In

Posted by on Thu, May 1, 2014 at 12:00 PM

The Department of Education released a list of the 55 colleges and universities under investigation for their "piss-poor handling of sex assault investigations:"

Arizona State University
Butte-Glen Community College (CA)
Occidental College (CA)
University of California-Berkeley
University of Southern California
Regis University (CO)
University of Colorado at Boulder
University of Colorado at Denver
University of Denver
University of Connecticut
Catholic University of America (DC)
Florida State University
Emory Universtiy (GA)
University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Idaho
Knox College (IL)
University of Chicago
Indiana University- Bloomington
Vincennes University (IN)
Amherst College (MA)
Boston University
Emerson College (MA)
Harvard College (MA)
Harvard University- Law School
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Frostberg State University (MD)
Michigan State University
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Guilford College (NC)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Minot State University (ND)
Dartmouth College (NH)
Princeton University (NJ)
CUNY Hunter College (NY)
Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY)
Sarah Lawrence College (NY)
SUNY Binghamton (NY)
Denison University (OH)
Ohio State University
Wittenberg University (OH)
Oklahoma State University
Carngie Mellon University (PA)
Franklin and Marshall College (PA)
Pennsylvania State University
Swarthmore College (PA)
Temple University (PA)
Vanderbilt University (TN)
Southern Methodist University (TX)
The University of Texas-Pan American
College of William and Mary (VA)
University of Virginia
Washington State University
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Bethany College (WV)
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

Most colleges and universities have some track record of horribleness when it comes to addressing or preventing rape, but these are the most egregious offenders, and it's a start.


Comments (19) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Wait, seriously? 1
"The department said this is the first comprehensive look at which campuses are under review for possible violations of the law’s requirements for the handling of sexual violence, but the new list does not include details about exactly what the department is examining at each school."

sensationalist title.
Posted by Wait, seriously? on May 1, 2014 at 12:09 PM · Report this
Wow, that is a really distressing list. So many of the largest universities are on there, I know people who went to or taught at almost all of these.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on May 1, 2014 at 12:11 PM · Report this
US News should incorporate this into their rankings.
Posted by wxPDX on May 1, 2014 at 12:18 PM · Report this
schmacky 4
WSU is on there, naturally.
Posted by schmacky on May 1, 2014 at 12:42 PM · Report this
AFinch 5
My school is on there. We have had a number of high-profile cases where parents were unhappy with the legal/judicial results and have gone after the school, hammer and tongs. There is so much he-said/she-said that it's very hard to know if "beyond a reasonable doubt" existed in each of these cases and in a couple, the accused fought back at the institution, hard.

There are too many of these cases to pretend this isn't a huge problem, but it's not as simple as some think it is to resolve.

@3 - that's actually a really good idea, if you want to create intense pressure to get administrators to actually pro-actively address the problem.
Posted by AFinch on May 1, 2014 at 12:54 PM · Report this
Cal Berkeley -- wow.
Posted by sarah70 on May 1, 2014 at 12:57 PM · Report this
Dougsf 7
Are serious crimes on campus considered jurisdiction of campus police, or are they referred the city or county police/DA? I hope to god it's not the former.
Posted by Dougsf on May 1, 2014 at 1:11 PM · Report this
So Ms. Henderson already knows what the outcome of the investigations will be. Sweet! What a time-saver.
Posted by Adversary on May 1, 2014 at 1:12 PM · Report this
This seems more like "high profile prestigious schools that have a poor track record" than "the worst 55 schools at sexual assault." It's largely big-name schools. Unless there is something that makes rape much more likely to happen at prestigious schools than average schools (what would that be?), you would expect to see more average schools on a "top 55 offenders" list.
Posted by Anonymous Cowar2 on May 1, 2014 at 1:13 PM · Report this
delirian 10
@9: I think what we may be seeing is that the big-name schools have more incentive to hide rapes so that they can protect their reputation.
Posted by delirian on May 1, 2014 at 1:18 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 11

A school that takes sexual assault seriously would encourage the victim to go to police. Part of the problem with the worst offenders is that they go out of their way to dissuade the victim from going to the hospital or the real authorities.
Posted by keshmeshi on May 1, 2014 at 1:34 PM · Report this
AFinch 12
Aheh...@7 - yes of course it is hte former; this is, in large part, why the former exists. Regardless of the investigating agency, the prosecution takes place in the regular courts, not a college-campus-court.

Yes, these issues are everywhere, and yes, high profile schools have more of an incentive to hide it. But more importantly: the people - in particular the accused - at high profile institutions generally have huge resources to combat charges - like the rest of the country, it's the best defense you can afford. At my institution there have been a few high profile cases where the institution has stood up and been hamstrung by a lack of a conviction in the criminal system. "I was can you accuse me?". They're not the same system but people blur this.

The fact that the campus and local police have been happy to grab random African American males off the street in over-zealous response to assaults hasn't helped the cause of vigorous prosecution.
Posted by AFinch on May 1, 2014 at 1:39 PM · Report this
It's an interesting list, from the party schools you might expect (Hello, WSU!) to small, liberal schools like Sarah Lawrence and Swarthmore as well as a handful of Ivy Leaguers.

Guess that speaks to just how pervasive the problem is.

Of course, at this point these are just investigations, but don't let that stop you from make broad and damning conclusions, Danielle.

Posted by bigyaz on May 1, 2014 at 1:47 PM · Report this
#1 and #8 are making valid points. This list cannot be called a list of the most egregious offenders. These are institutions being investigated under Title IX to determine how they handle sexual violence and harassment complaints. The investigations very well could have been prompted by a complaint, but not necessarily.

At Dartmouth, the investigation was initiated as a compliance review and didn't have anything to do with a complaint. Dartmouth has come under scrutiny lately, mostly focused on the behavior of its fraternities (natch), so the administration said it's openly welcoming this review, working closely with the DOE and hoping that it provides some strategies to improve its responses. According to the college, of course.

At any rate, it does a massive disservice to readers to call this something like a list of worst offenders. It's merely a list of institutions where an investigation is currently underway. Calling these "the worst" distorts what the list is and gives a semblance of integrity to those institutions that are simply not on the list at this time.
Posted by Bostonguy on May 1, 2014 at 1:48 PM · Report this
masque of owls 15
@3, there is actually a petition going around to get the Princeton Review to incorporate sexual assault responsiveness into their rankings.
Posted by masque of owls on May 1, 2014 at 2:59 PM · Report this
masque of owls 16
@14, most of these institutions, especially the higher-profile ones, have been in the news recently for Title IX complaints being filed against them for alleged mishandling of sexual assault cases. That's pretty much the definition of 'most egregious offender' unless, of course, there are other schools with worse track records where the victims just haven't filed Title IX yet. Which is sadly entirely probable.
Posted by masque of owls on May 1, 2014 at 3:03 PM · Report this
@14, @16: even if the investigations were sparked by complaints, complaints alone prove nothing. Occidental College, for one, is pushing back against allegations that it mishandles sexual assault claims.…

When you hear that so-and-so had a complaint filed against him/her/it for such and such, or is being investigated for this-and-that, and appropriate response is, "Hmm, I'll be interested to see how that comes out." Not "A complaint?!? Being investigated?!? He/she/it is an egregious offender!"
Posted by Adversary on May 1, 2014 at 3:53 PM · Report this
venomlash 18
As a Maroon (BS 2013), my impression of how the University of Chicago handled the specter of sexual assault was by allowing the cultivation of a stigma against women going anywhere near the local Phi Gamma Delta chapter, which was notorious for disrespecting women and had some more serious allegations leveled as well.
Posted by venomlash on May 1, 2014 at 4:29 PM · Report this
Amalink 19
My college is not on there :) I remember being in some situations that if I didn't have good friends and a really good system in place in the school could have been disastrous for me. Even the nurses in the school went out of their way to get to know every student and follow up with a few who needed some extra care. They took really good care of us.
Posted by Amalink on May 1, 2014 at 4:55 PM · Report this

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