Duke Eliminates Statue of Limitations on Student Sexual Misconduct

This week, Duke University eliminated the school’s statute of limitations (SOL) on student sexual misconduct reporting. Strong protests from students initiated the removal of the previous one-year SOL restriction. Under the new policy, a student now can file a sexual misconduct report up until they graduate.

Outcry from the student body came after negotiations between the university and the Department of Education in 2011 resulted in a lowering of the SOL from two years to one year in January. In an effort to comply with what school officials believed were guidelines of the Office of Civil Rights, the university lowered the general student body’s SOL to match the one year SOL for employees. School officials announced this week that they “misinterpreted” the Office of Civil Rights conditions.

Junior Stefani Jones, Duke Student Government vice president for equity and outreach and leader of the student task force for reviewing the policy, said, “I couldn’t be happier that we saw such a groundswell of support from the Duke community and that the administration was receptive to our proposal and our concerns. When you have so many students rallying around an issue, it becomes hard to ignore.”

This news comes nearly a year after the American Association of University Women, a member organization of HERvotes, released a historic report on the high levels of sexual harassment in our nation’s schools.

Media Resources: Duke Chronicle 10/07/12; Inside Higher Ed 10/09/12; Feminist Newsire 11/15/11; AAUW Research 11/15/11

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