The University of Southern California is the latest school to be hit with allegations that it failed to prosecute rape.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights is investigating claims from 13 students who say they suffered from the "extensive failures" of USC administrators and campus police to respond to "reports of sexual violence on campus."
Those reports include:
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Jody Shipper, USC Title IX coordinator, responded to the charges by telling The Huffington Post that the university "remains vigilant in addressing any issues promptly and fully as they arise," and was looking "forward to working with [the Office of Civil Rights] to address any concerns and review our protocols as needed."
USC isn't the only school to get in trouble for reportedly failing to prosecute rape. In May, Yale was hit with a $165,000 fine for allegedly underreporting rape on campus. Dartmouth College, Swarthmore, and the University of California, Berkeley, all faced claims similar to those made against USC. Earlier this month, the Department of Education investigated the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill over allegations that a student was punished for creating an "intimidating" environment for her ex-boyfriend by reporting that he raped her.
Why are American universities doing such a bad job at preventing and prosecuting rape?
"We can deconstruct this pressure to stay quiet, but it is very real and very powerful, and it benefits universities looking to avoid scandalous headlines for the sake of reputation, application rates, and alumni donations," wrote Alexandra Brodsky in The Guardian, adding that universities often go unpunished for their actions:
It doesn't have to be this way. Back in 2011, the White House sent a letter to school administrators telling them that universities must inform a student who reports a rape of his or her rights to an investigation, carry out that investigation in a timely manner, and not punish women who report being sexually assaulted while using drugs or alcohol.
Apparently the message didn't sink in. That's a shame, wrote Aly Neel in The Washington Post, who complained about Princeton failing to publish a survey it had taken on the prevalence of rape on campus.
"We're not demanding rape-free campuses overnight (though that'd be nice)," wrote Neel. "But pretending sexual assault doesn't exist will not make it go away."
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