On the heels of the Stanford rape case comes a report from federal campus safety data revealing the campuses that have the most reports of rape. The Washington Post recently published an article on that data, naming Brown University and the University of Connecticut as tied for the highest reports of on-campus rape in 2014.
Below is a list of rape reports from college campuses (main campus) in the database from the year 2014.
- Brown: 43
- U-Conn.: 43
- Dartmouth College: 42
- Wesleyan University: 37
- University of Virginia: 35
- Harvard: 33
- University of North Carolina at Charlotte: 32
- Rutgers-New Brunswick: 32
- University of Vermont: 27
- Stanford: 26
Another way to analyze the data would be to compare rape reports to size of enrollment. If you look at the numbers this way, Reed College actually comes in #1 for most rape reports per 1,000 students at 12.9.
Why have rape reports spiked?
Reports of sexual assault on campus have spiked in recent years, and many victim advocates believe this is because victims are being emboldened and coming forward to report abuse from years past. A low number of sexual assault reports may not be a good indicator of campus safety, but rather an indicator of failure to respond effectively to rape allegations.
Data on campus-reported sexual assault is publicly available on the U.S. Department of Education’s Campus Safety and Security website. This is actually the first year that the public can obtain precise data regarding on-campus rape reports, because of recent changes to federal disclosure rules. Before, reports only had to indicate total reports of forcible sex offenses, which are instances not exclusive to rape, making it impossible to know how many of those reports actually involved rape specifically. Now, campuses have to report rape numbers separately – rape being the FBI’s definition, rather than state law definitions, which can vary greatly.
What is the definition of rape used for these statistics?
According to the FBI, rape is “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
Title IX Hearings
Colleges and universities throughout the United States have saturated their focus on Title IX in recent years in response to the growing number of rape reports. Meant to provide equal protection under the law, Title IX hearings can actually end up robbing accused individuals of due process under the law. Attorneys at Koffel Brininger Nesbitt have seen this firsthand. In fact, we have had to ramp up our efforts in recent years just to meet the growing demand of representing college students in these Title IX hearings.
Title IX hearings are handled by the college administration, rather than in criminal court. When administrations take on responsibilities that should fall to the court, it robs the accused of their due process rights, namely, the right to have their case decided by a judge and jury, not a Title IX officer or other higher institution employee.
It is our belief that college students should be responsible for their own actions; that goes for the accused and the accusers. Rape on campus, or anywhere, is always tragic, but the spike in reports of on-campus assaults should never justify the removal of the accused’s due process rights under the law.