The US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is currently investigating Michigan State University (MSU) for its potential mishandling of sexual assault cases.

A student who was allegedly sexually assaulted in an MSU dorm room in August 2010 by two student athletes filed charges against the university under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of sex. Campus police investigated the alleged rape and brought information to the county police department, which declined to prosecute. MSU has not provided any information to the press concerning whether or how the student’s charges were addressed through any on-campus disciplinary process.

Occidental College professors Caroline Heldman and Danielle Dirks report in the Winter/Spring 2014 issue of Ms. magazine, that 1 in 5 women in the US will experience a rape or an attempted rape at some point during her years in college. Unfortunately, many universities have mishandled sexual assault cases and now face investigations, most recently the University of California at Berkeley. To improve this situation, President Obama recently created an inter-agency task force to develop recommendations for universities to prevent campus rape and for federal agencies to hold accountable schools that do not adequately address sexual violence.

Media Resources: Lansing State Journal 2/25/14; Detroit Free Press 3/3/14; Feminist Majority Foundation Education Equality Toolkit; Ms. magazine Winter/Spring 2014 issue; Feminist Newswire 1/22/14, 3/4/14