Feds raise pressure on campus rape

Harvard University
The campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.: Do institutions of higher learning do enough to deter sexual assault?
Getty Images/Joe Raedle

The federal government last week named 55 colleges under investigation for suspected failure to deal adequately with sexual assault.

Reports of campus rapes are up significantly, but it's unclear whether those higher numbers represent more crimes or simply a greater willingness to report them. Research cited by the White House shows that 1 college woman in 5 experiences sexual assault, but that only about 12 percent of survivors file a report.

According to NPR, cases that are filed through campus procedures may not get anywhere:

Colleges find themselves increasingly pressed to act as pseudo-courts. Schools have been under fire for discounting complaints, mismanaging cases and meting out punishments that look more like slaps on the wrist. By all accounts, there's plenty of room for improvement.

Still, college discipline procedures can make certain allowances that courts cannot, and school panels can step in when an alleged victim is wary of going to court.

The Daily Circuit looks at the challenges that colleges face in trying to deter sexual assault on campus.

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