Department of Education Addresses Campus Sexual Assault
June 12, 2014
If you or someone you know is planning to go to college, what do you think about when it comes to deciding where to spend the next few years of your education? The majors offered? The location of the school? The quality of the sports teams? Now, you can also factor in how your dream school handles cases of sexual assault.
Over the past few weeks, for the first time ever, the U.S. Department of Education released the names of 60 schools that are under investigation by the government for not reporting rape and sexual assault statistics, not punishing rapists and not giving survivors the support they need—all in violation of federal laws. In order to provide resources for victims and guidance for colleges and universities, the White House also launched Notalone.gov, a website that provides information on a victim’s legal rights as well as offers support to those who have been assaulted or raped and guidance for schools about creating policies that follow the law.
Despite the fact that one in five college women are survivors of sexual assault, many colleges don’t expel rapists and instead punish them with suspension or by making them write a letter explaining what they did wrong. The average rapist has six victims, which means allowing rapists to remain on campus makes it likely that more people will be harmed. The release of this list of schools and the launch of Notalone.gov are critical to ensuring that colleges follow through and expel rapists and provide survivors with the help they deserve.
Prospective students can now factor in how colleges handle cases of rape into their choices of where to go to school. Many of the colleges on the Department of Education’s list are popular choices for many of my friends, and it makes me a bit worried that they’ll be attending schools that don’t respect their basic right to safety. Hopefully, with the release of this list, colleges will change their policies and make sure they are following federal laws meant to keep schools safe for all students.