The Problem of Campus Sexual Assault

Stop Campus Sexual Assault

Recently, a friend and fellow University of Chicago alumna showed me an open letter to university president Robert Zimmer demanding that the university reevaluate its policy regarding campus sexual assaults. After reporting an assault by her then-partner and being illegally offered a mediation session by Dean of Students Susan Art, current fourth-year student Olivia Ortiz filed a complaint with the United States Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR), prompting a larger investigation of the university for possible violations of Title IX. In response, a coalition of alumni wrote and circulated the letter in question. I gladly added my name.

Though I am heartbroken to read about my beloved alma mater's betrayal of sexual assault victims, I am not surprised. Campus sexual assaults are chillingly common, according to the Department of Education's 2011 Dear Colleague Letter: Sexual Violence Background, Summary, and Fast Facts (found on Marsh Law Firm's roundup of Title IX resources):


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Title IX’s Demise in the Public School System

Title IX is a 1972 federal law which requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding. This includes the vast majority of public school systems in our country. Title IX prohibits both teacher-student harassment and student-student harassment. It also prohibits a hostile environment based on gender. The goal is to eliminate sex-based discrimination in federally assisted education programs. Every public school has an affirmative obligation to prevent sex-based harassment and to lessen the harm to students if, despite ...

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