Friday, March 18, 2016

More trouble at FSU

A "glitch" in the Florida State University student records system, controlled by a third party software company, has resulted in the release of 1600 emails detailing student conduct cases. Some of those are sexual harassment and assault cases which has raised concerns about whether those who complained are now in danger because an accused person could either find who his accuser was and/or the extent and details of an accusation.

The university has apologized but not taken steps beyond that to reassure those who have filed reports in the past that they are safe, according to some of those who have been affected.

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would question this "glitch" in light of FSU's less-than-stellar record with Title IX issues. Why? Because if students are worried that their reports might not be secure--which clearly they are not--then they will not come forward to report harassment and assault. Lack of reporting is already a problem nationwide. This glitch has institutionalized it at FSU. Fewer reports means that the university does not have to deal with them and they do not have to report them to the federal government, which would make FSU look safer than it actually is. Even though the University took no responsibility for the Jameis Winston situation as they settled the lawsuit brought by Erica Kinsman, evidence about the number of unreported and uninvestigated sexual assaults occurring at FSU certainly raised concerns among potential students and parents who might send their children there.

But I am not conspiracy theorist. And I do not think that FSU administrators are happy about dealing with this situation. [Apparently the Title IX coordinator has been "up all night" addressing the information leak.]

Additionally, FSU is still under investigation by OCR. This situation is not going to help present a picture of an institution that has its Title IX house in order.

So it seems that this is just a really awful situation--for victims. Many of us have been waiting a long time for something to happen to FSU that will make it wake up and take notice of what is happening on that campus. But no one wants that moment to come at the expense of students.