In Sexual Assault Awareness Month related news, NPR reported on the failure of colleges to protect women from sexual assault. Joseph Shapiro, in collaboration with The Center for Public Integrity, identified major problems in the way campus policing systems respond to reports of sexual assault as well as inadequate oversight by the U.S. Department of Education. You can read or listen to the beginning of the series at Morning Edition and follow the continued series at All Things Considered. The series includes interviews with victims of sexual assault and their families, and research from The Center for Public Integrity investigation.
Findings of the Center for Public Integrity and NPR News Investigation:
— Colleges almost never expel men who are found responsible for sexual assault. Reporters at CPI discovered a database of about 130 colleges and universities given federal grants because they wanted to do a better job dealing with sexual assault. But the database shows that even when men at those schools were found responsible for sexual assault, only 10 to 25 percent of them were expelled.
— The U.S. Department of Education has failed to aggressively monitor and regulate campus response to sexual assault. The department has the authority to fine schools that fail to report crime on campus. In 20 years, the department has used that power just six times. And the department can also find that a school has violated a law that prevents discrimination against women. But between 1998 and 2008, the department ruled against just five universities out of 24 resolved complaints.
— Colleges are ill-equipped to handle cases of sexual assault. Most of the time, alcohol is involved. Local prosecutors are reluctant to take these cases, so they often fall to campus judicial systems to sort through clashing claims of whether the sex was consensual or forced.
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