Students Dissatisfied with Colleges’ Treatment of Sexual Assault

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Most college students do not approve of their school’s work dealing with sexual assault problems on campus, a new survey found.

Volunteer group Students Active For Ending Rape (SAFER) conducted a nationwide survey, interviewing 528 students in 46 states plus the District of Columbia. They asked students to rate their colleges’ policies on sexual assault and harassment, and found that less than 10 percent of students gave their school an A. Forty percent of students gave their school a B, but about half of the students rated their schools’ policies at a C or lower, the Huffington Post reported.

More than a quarter of students did not know if a sexual violence policy existed on their campus, according to the survey: “…while some schools are ahead of the curve and are effectively addressing campus sexual violence, many colleges and universities continue to lag behind, failing to adequately address the issue and often ignoring students' needs," said Emily Greytak, SAFER’s primary researcher for this survey.

“While statistics like this are disappointing, it doesn’t really surprise me that many schools don’t have adequate sexual assault prevention policies or programs, especially after attending a school that got a lot of media attention for sexual assault scandals,” said Gabby Kashtelian, a senior at Boston University studying philosophy and journalism.

During April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, there were 34 media reports of sexual assault on college campuses, the Huffington Post reports. The real number is probably higher, since less than five percent of rape attacks get reported to law enforcement.

“Even when my school was in the news for sexual assault issues, and even when the school administration was sending out emails about evaluating policies and putting in new programs, I feel like many students didn’t really know what was going on,” Kashtelian said.

A few months ago, President Obama signed the Campus SaVE Act into law. It requires colleges and universities to have sexual assault prevention policies, and to also quickly address any issues and reports of assault on campus.

“I think college’s need to do a better job about making campuses more open to discussion and organization around these issues. But at the same time, it’s also on the students to seek out this information and learn about how to make their school’s policies better,” Kashtelian said.

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Sophomore > Journalism/Environmental Analysis > Boston University

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