McCaskill: Many Campuses Breaking the Law by Not Investigating Sexual Assaults

Jul 9, 2014

Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, right, conducts a roundtable discussion on sexual assaults on college campuses.
Credit Sen. Claire McCaskill's Office

One in five US colleges and universities don’t train their staff on how to respond to campus sexual assaults, and almost one in three don’t teach their students awareness about it. Those are some of the findings in a national survey of 440 institutions of higher education.The study was spearheaded by US Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri. KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson has more.

McCaskill told reporters the survey’s findings must serve as a “wake up call” to American colleges and universities.

The survey also found that 41 percent of the schools surveyed have not conducted a single investigation into campus sexual assault in the past five years.  About one in five of the nation’s largest private institutions reported more incidents to the Department of Education than the number of investigations they conducted, indicating they knew about the incidents but didn’t investigate them.  Some institutions reported as many as seven times more incidents of sexual violence than they actually investigated.

McCaskill says those findings show a “disturbing failure” to comply with the law.   Federal law requires every school that knows—or reasonably should have known—about an alleged sexual assault to conduct an investigation.

Also, colleges and universities are required to have a Title IX coordinator to make sure the school is compliant in the area of sexual violence investigations—but more than 10 percent of the schools surveyed do not have a Title IX coordinator.

Also, one fifth of the institutions surveyed are giving their athletic departments oversight of cases involving athletes.

You can read the final report about the survey here.