Center for Public Integrity Launches Campus Assault Project
December 2, 2009
Yesterday the Center for Public Integrity launched its Campus Assault Project, an initiative to investigate and report how colleges and universities respond to reports of sexual assault. Today's report focuses on institutional barriers that prevent sexual assault from being reported on college campuses. CPI's nine-month investigation revealed a myriad of obstacles, from a dean's expressed disbelief in a student's allegation to an institution’s neglecting to offer students access to a professional victim’s advocate. The impact, CPI reports, is a widespread distrust in systems to address assault on campus, and an increasing hesitance to report it. Thursday's report will expose the limitations and loopholes in the Clery Act — a statute requiring institutions with federal financial aid programs to monitor and disclose information about crime on and near their campuses — that cause systematic problems in documenting the number of campus-related sexual assaults. In conjunction with the project, CPI has released a Reporter's Toolkit, a comprehensive resource for individuals to investigate how their own schools handle allegations of sexual assault, as well as a guide to Understanding the Law, which explains legislation that has impacted institutions' approach to sexual assault on campus.