The Department of Education took an original stride on colleges in regard to the increase of sexual assault cases on post-secondary education campuses, placing 55 colleges and universities under inquiry. The Office for Civil Rights in the Education Department says sexual violence is not only an offense, it is also harassment and a federal crime. This required institutions to take clear, effective steps in order to stop the sexual violence and to provide the necessary measures of protection for endangered students.
The action came just days after the White House announced a task force made up of Obama administration cabinet members. The group would be levied with creating better transparency with the government in regards to sexual assault on post-secondary campuses, making the new inquiry into the crimes an important step. A new list of the higher-learning institutes under investigation is now available. The schools cover a wide range of private colleges and universities as well as Ivy League academies, and even religious and public institutes.
Although the Education Department did not release any specifics, a few details about certain probes has come to light. For example,Vanderbilt University shows protests that were filed by many students, including prior members. They charge the Alma Mater gave an unsatisfactory response to claims of sexual abuse last November. Another case involves a University of Virginia student, who filed a complaint in 2012, affirming the institute mismanaged her declaration that she had been sexually assaulted while attending the school. The case is still open today, causing many to welcome the inquiry into the increases of sexual assault cases on post-secondary campuses.
Some colleges have resisted the inclination to enforce stiffer penalties by claiming that the civil rights of those being accused are not being protected. The Federal Government provides overseers who are supposed to work with the institutions to help with sexual assault cases, but it is thought that the government is lacking in its duties to enforce the existing rules when it comes to such weighty tasks. In other words, if a school does not have somebody to watch over them, they will do whatever it is they want to do behind closed doors. Universities and colleges usually keep quiet about objections they may have about reporting sexual assault cases on post-secondary campuses, but the inquiry into the increases have made that option obsolete.
There are many schools that are highlighting the fact they had no issues lodged against them. Experts say that these are the institutes that are paying attention to what is going on in the student community. They pay attention to what their government is telling them is proper conduct, they are paying attention to the increases of sexual assault cases on post-secondary campuses and listen to what their learners tell them, thus avoiding a public inquiry. It is these bunkers of higher learning that the Department of Education is hoping will increase their transparency and push dialogue within the post-secondary education community.
The White House had stated that one in five female members of higher education institutions suffered a sexual assault on campus. The inquiry under the cabinet into the increase of sexual assault cases on post-secondary campuses had been appointed after President Obama had heard that such crimes were being swept under the carpet and that the victims were receiving shoddy treatment. The people tasked with the issue set up a website, which offers information on past actions taken against the institute, and resources for present victims. They also set up recommendations on which the schools could follow through. They include holding surveys to be able to better understand the frequency of sexual assaults on campus and having access to victims advocates.
Since 2011, when the Department of Education made public its guidelines on sexual assault instructions, the numbers have grown a lot, resulting in the inquiry as to why the increase into sexual assault cases on post-secondary campuses has risen so much. Part of the problem is the lack of resources provided by the Federal Government to ensure that the proper steps are taken by colleges and universities to report such instances. This also frees the schools from the urgency to implement policies on how to deal with these issues and makes sure that the victims’ rights are upheld, as well as the perpetrators.
Some institutes have begun a new standard of requirements that are now being used to determine whether or not a student committed a sexual infraction against another student. They now need to produce just the proof that a sexual assault has been committed instead of the old model of needing precise and credible evidence of a violation of personal self. This is thought to be in direct relation to the inquiry into why there have been increases in the number of sexual assault cases on post-secondary education campuses.
By Korrey Laderoute