Campus Sexual Assaults Jump To High Level Of Interest

Here’s a story from the Boston Globe about campus Sexual Assaults.

The accounts of colleges’ indifference are chilling.

“Are you sure it was rape?” an Amherst College student reported being told. “You should forgive and forget.”

At Harvard University, “my house master and my dean encouraged me to forgive my assailant and move on,” wrote an anonymous undergraduate.

Testimonials like these from sexual assault victims — some writing anonymously, others stepping fully into the spotlight — have poured out in student newspapers and on blogs on one campus after another in the past year and a half from Emerson, MIT, Brandeis, Brown, and others across the country.

Now, advocates believe these searing accounts are helping to fuel the intense scrutiny colleges find themselves under from the Obama administration and critics who complain of the colleges not taking sexual assault reports seriously enough.

This week, the White House raised the public pressure to a new level, issuing new requirements for colleges to both prevent and respond to violence. The Department of Education issued an unusual finding that Tufts University is violating Title IX, the federal law mandating gender equity on campus and could lose its federal funding. And the Education Department revealed for the first time the full list of colleges under federal investigation for their handling of sexual assaults, currently 55 schools, including six in Massachusetts.

The latest push from the White House is at least partly in response to a savvy and rapidly expanding crop of young student activists, many of them sexual assault survivors, who have made the issue impossible to ignore. They built informal networks to pass legal and public relations advice from one campus to another in what one called a “domino effect.”

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