Sunday, January 26, 2014

Add Columbia to the list...

...of schools where students are speaking up about their experiences when reporting incidents of sexual assault and bringing light to inadequate and illegal systems of reporting at their institutions.
At the end of last year, several women came forward to say that they all had been assaulted by a Columbia University athlete, but that the university had not adequately investigated their respective complaints and that the student was still on campus having faced minimal disciplinary actions (for groping, a verdict that came down after the accuser graduated).
It does not appear that the university is in violation of the Clery Act. But simply reporting incidents does not feel like enough to many Columbia students who have called for greater accountability and transparency. A group calling themselves the Title IX Team are asking for the release of additional information such as the nature of complaints, how they are resolved, and what kind of punishments are given to alleged perpetrators.
Last week, the school newspaper released the first article in a two-part series about the experiences of some students who have tried to use the university's disciplinary system to address sexual assault. It has already garnered some internet attention and I predict that the details of individuals' assaults and experiences will strengthen students' claims against the university and compel a response.The students want one. There have been at least two open letters to the university president asking for him to address their concerns. The latest, from members of the Title IX Team, can be found here.