A new report released this week on sexual assault on college campuses found that many US colleges and universities routinely fail to uphold established legal obligations to survivors of sexual assault. The report examined archival evidence from the past 10 years and found that the omissions of higher educational institutions ultimately are barriers that insulate perpetrators of sexual assault from prosecution and punishment.
The report found that College Campuses regularly flout their legal obligations under Title IX and the Clery Act. Title IX, the revolutionary federal law that outlaws sex-discrimination in education, was originally passed in 1972, and reads: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” The report found various cases of School administrators and school police ignoring victims’ reports of sexual assault instead of initiating investigations, in violation of Title IX.
The Clery Act, requires that four-year higher educational institutions where federal financial aid is available to students, collect, preserve, and disclose crime information when the incidents occur on or near campus. In violation of the Clery Act, one section of the report found that many colleges report no incidents of rape despite contradicting reports from associated victim response groups. Additionally, 77 percent of four-year colleges and universities reported no incidents of sexual assault or harassment in 2006. This figure conflicts with federal estimates that, during college, 1 in 5 women will become a victim of attempted rape or rape. However, it is also estimated that 95 percent of rape cases will not be reported.