By Lauren Linhard – firstname.lastname@example.org
When asked what college I went to, I love replying, “American University, one of the most progressive schools in the U.S.” But now I’m a little ashamed. Earlier this week, news emerged that AU, along with four other universities are being investigated for their mishandling of on-campus sexual assault cases.
Four sexual assault survivors, including Faith Ferber who was assaulted at an AU sorority party, came forward to file Title IX complaints against their respective universities – The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Indiana University Bloomington and Monmouth University – with the help of End Rape on Campus.
“I’m furious. I feel like I was taken advantage of as a survivor,” said Ferber, who was asked to sign a confidentiality agreement by the school. “He’s still on campus, that doesn’t make sense to me.”
Ferber’s assailant, who pleaded guilty at his hearing, received a year of disciplinary probation rather than being suspended. He was supposed to be removed from his fraternity, but that promise went unfulfilled as well.
The unnamed survivor from Alabama accused the university of bias against her and ignoring medical records that prove she was drugged the night she says she was assaulted. The Monmouth University student said she never pursued charges because the university warned her it might not consider text messages from her assailant, apologizing for his “actions,” as evidence.
Hailey Rial, the complainant at Indiana University Bloomington, reported a sexual assault in September and requested a protective order against the accused, who lived in her dorm. The university never set up the hearing required for a protective order, and later, Rial said, withheld witness statements from her.
These stories represent only four instances of on-campus sexual assault. One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. Of those survivors, only 10 percent report the assault.
This news comes a few weeks after Vice President Joe Biden and Lady Gaga stood on stage at the Oscars with End Rape on Campus and survivors of sexual assault to plead for action from students, colleagues, friends and university staff.
There are currently 263 Title IX cases being investigated in universities across the U.S, including 28 of U.S. News and World Report’s 50 “Best Universities.”