Campus Sexual Assault Editorials & OpEds

Editorials & OpEds Urging Reform Of The Way Colleges & Universities Handle Sexual Assault Cases

Roll Call Op-Ed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Kelly Ayotte, 4/11/16: Key To Ending Campus Sexual Assault is Transparency

The key to understanding campus sexual assault — and then fighting it — is going to be in the data. If students report in the survey that their universities take them seriously and are doing everything possible to prevent assaults, to help survivors and to respond to incidents in a fair and transparent manner, the data will reflect it, and schools will have no reason to worry about going public with this information. Our families need to know which schools are taking the problem seriously and which are pretending there’s no problem at all. Our schools need to feel motivated to come clean about the extent of their sexual assault problem, so they can move to fix it.

Niagara Gazette Editorial, 3/11/15: EDITORIAL: Gillibrand pushes bill to fight rape

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, has re-introduced a stronger version of her bi-partisan bill, “The Campus Accountability and Safety Act.” The legislation is based on vital input from victims, students, colleges and universities, law enforcement officials and advocates. The bill will force universities to adopt standard practices for weighing sexual charges and to survey students on the prevalence of assault. Gillibrand’s efforts come at a critical time, when the U.S. Department of Education data from 2013 — the latest figures available — shows more than 380 forcible sex offenses on campuses across the state.

The Daily Orange Editorial, 3/3/15:  ‘Campus Safety and Security Act’ can set higher standard

The bipartisan legislation was reintroduced to the Senate on Thursday and is meant to regulate sexual assault dealings, increase transparency and incentivize colleges to publicize on campus assaults. If properly enforced, this mandate could make it so students attending colleges of all sizes all across the country feel the same protection. This legislation is a good step toward addressing campus sexual assault, but it could set an even higher standard.

Democrat and Chronicle Editorial, 3/3/15: Pass Gillibrand's bill on college sexual assaults

The legislation allows for training and student support, establishes a uniform disciplinary procedure, increases penalties and, most important, creates an open clearinghouse of information for prospective students and parents. It improves the chances that truth will emerge and justice will prevail. And that victims no longer will live in shame.

My San Antonio OpEd by Catherine Rampell, 8/6/14: National survey of campus sex violence needed

But a universal survey requirement would force schools to publicly acknowledge the extent of sexual violence on their campuses. Then they could stop worrying about embarrassment that might result from more accurate measurement of crime rates — and focus instead on better ways to prevent and respond to the crimes themselves.

The Buffalo News Editorial, 8/6/14:  Legislation to prevent sexual assaults on college campuses deserves wide support

Congress should act quickly to pass the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, overdue legislation to deal with sexual violence on college campuses.

The bill, already introduced in the Senate, would impose large monetary penalties on colleges and universities that fail to implement new services, training standards and other requirements aimed at preventing sexual assaults.

Statesman Journal Editorial, 8/4/14: Curbing campus assaults: Bill would force changes

It's heartening that the White House and Congress have finally realized that they need to pay more attention to the problem of campus sexual assault. Earlier this year, a dozen House members sent a letter asking U.S. News & World Report to include sexual-violence statistics in its popular annual rankings of the nation's colleges.

The Senate should approve the Campus Safety and Accountability Act, and the House should approve a similar bill sponsored by Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Patrick Meehan, R-Pa. While Congress has a full schedule in the dwindling number of working days left in the current session, lawmakers should give this legislation the high-level priority it deserves.

Finger Lake Times Editorial, 8/4/14: More Needs To Be Done About Campus Assaults

Anna has stated that she is returning to William Smith this fall, against her parents’ wishes, because she wants to be an advocate for other victims. One of her first duties in that role came Wednesday, when she stood with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and other lawmakers in Washington as they unveiled a new bill designed to better protect students from sexual assault.


The new law, among other things, seeks to increase local law enforcement’s presence in sexual assault cases and would require campuses to designate advocates who would confidentially discuss available options with victims, two things that Anna did not have at her disposal — at least not in great measure.

New York Daily News OpEd by Dana Bolger, 7/6/14: Where Rape Gets A Pass

In recent months, survivors across the country have come forward about their schools' responses following violence: Some described college administrators encouraging them to take time off from school, refusing to make basic academic and housing accommodations, denying them counseling and other support services because they were "too complicated" as rape victims, even prohibiting them from speaking to friends about their assaults. Some survivors have dropped out, lost their financial aid, been placed on probation, expelled or institutionalized against their will - all while their rapists and abusers remain on campus. Punishments for perpetrators are notoriously light, and often non-existent.

Altamont Enterprise OpEd, 6/12/14: Putting a Bandaid on Rape Won't Work

In our universities, in our prisons, in our armies, individuals matter and can make a difference. Certainly, these crimes must be reported, arrests made, and prosecutions followed through. The men and women being raped must not bear the shame that belongs to the rapists. Rape can be prevented in the first place if individuals speak up and intervene to stem the violence. Further, we each need to add our voice to those of the survivors and activists calling for changes. It is time to be open and exacting about the problems to solve them.

PoJo OpEd by Sandra Moore, 5/25/14: Greater Attention To Campus Safety

We know violence against women is a worldwide issue; it doesn't just happen at Columbia or Harvard (and, yes, some folks may be stunned to learn it's, in fact, an issue at such prestigious places, where admission rates are under 10 percent). Currently on college campuses, 95 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. Victims are embarrassed or afraid to come forward; given the often inadequate responses to the students reporting these crimes, it's no surprise that so many don't bother. Instead, they may end up dropping out or transferring in order to get away from the perpetrator(s). This is not only unfair, it's outrageous.

Time Magazine OpEd by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, 5/15/14: We Will Not Allow These Crimes To Be Swept Under The Rug Any Longer

Senator McCaskill and I will be taking this growing crisis head on with additional bipartisan action to hold colleges and universities accountable with stiff, binding penalties, and bring more transparency through a national survey of campus sexual assaults that student survivors and advocates consistently make as their top priority. We will not allow these crimes to be swept under the rug any longer. For all of our young people who dream of going to college, and for all of our students on campus today — they deserve better. They deserve safety and accountability. Simply put, they deserve action.

Baltimore Sun OpEd by Ed Schaller, 5/13/14: Stop Tolerating Rape

As a professor, I was surprised to learn that far too often rape allegations are handled internally by campus authorities. Campus officials should, of course, adjudicate matters of academic impropriety like plagiarism and cheating, or minor campus transgressions like vandalism or drug use. But felonies like rape are another matter. Campus police and administrative authorities wouldn't conduct a murder investigation and then determine whether there was sufficient evidence to convict a potential suspect before turning the case over to police, so why would they sometimes handle rape cases in that manner?

Milford Daily News Editorial, 5/12/14: Failures On Dealing With Sexual Assault

What is so troubling about these incidents is that they are symptomatic of the inability of higher education to effectively deal with sexual violence perpetrated by students against students. We hope that guidelines released by a White House task force will lead to new resolve by college and university officials to tackle the problem.

Women's Health OpEd by Senator Claire McCaskill, 5/12/14: The Need To Know on Sexual Assault On Campus

Sexual assault is a crime like no other. The injuries suffered by survivors are both physical and psychological. The consequences are both immediate and chronic.

The deeply personal nature of these crimes—combined with sometimes damaging attitudes toward survivors—lead to feelings of self-blame and shame. And those feelings are only compounded in closed cultural environments, such as college campuses, where survivors can be made to feel that they themselves are under the microscope.

Buffalo News Editorial, 5/9/14: Colleges need to do a better job dealing with sexual assaults involving students

There is a growing effort involving social justice practices, social media and the kind of activism not seen in years that has resulted in groups of brave women speaking out against sexual assault on college campuses.

Their selfless activism may prevent some young women from experiencing the terror of a sexual assault in a place where they should be insulated from such horror.

Washington Post Editorial, 5/3/14: Colleges need to get serious about sexual assaults

Cases of sexual assault, particularly those of acquaintance rape, can be difficult to investigate and adjudicate. Survivors are often reluctant to report the crime, sometimes believing they are to blame or won’t be believed or will be subject to reprisals. The he-said, she-said nature of the cases, with alchohol a factor and memories sometimes faulty, make local prosecutors wary, and the time-consuming criminal process doesn’t provide victims with the help they might need to get their lives and education back on track. That’s why the role of college administrations in providing a safe education environment is critical.

PoJo Editorial, 4/30/14: Zero Tolerance for Sexual Assaults on Campus

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D/NY) and Senator Claire McCaskill (D/MO) assert that there's a need for increased funding to better investigate and enforce sexual assault laws on college campuses. You may have seen Senator Gillibrand at the press conference on April 24th that announced 23 Columbia undergrads were filing Title IX, Title II and Clery complaints against the university for mishandling rape cases. (Harvard students filed their own Title IX complaint against their school earlier in the month.) In a letter to the Senate Appropriations committee, Gillibrand wrote: "...the price of a college education should not include a one-in-five chance of being sexually assaulted."

Harvard Crimson OpEd by Anonyous, 3/31/14: Dear Harvard, You Win

I’m writing this piece as I’m sitting in my own dining hall, only a few tables away from the guy who pressured me into sexual activity in his bedroom, one night last spring. My hands are trembling as they hover across the keyboard. I’m exhausted from fighting for myself. I’m exhausted from sending emails to my resident dean, to my House Master, to my Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment tutors, to counselors from the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, to my attorney. I’m exhausted from asking for extensions because of “personal issues.” I’m exhausted from avoiding the laundry room, the House library and the mailroom because I’m scared of who I will run into.