Encouraging Campus Safety with Better Reporting
Sexual assault and sexual violence continue to be at the center of Title IX discussions on college campuses. The staggering evidence of sexual assault and misconduct keeps colleges and universities constantly looking for ways to improve their behavioral prevention and case management system. A recent survey conducted among 33 major universities, published in The Washington Post, found that “about one-quarter of undergraduate women say they have been victims of sexual touching or penetration without consent since starting college.” Even the survey results are flawed when one considers the number of victims that suffer from sexual violence and don’t seek help or report the incident.
The resistance to reporting an incident usually stems from the stigmas associated with sexual violence and assault. According to the Office of Women’s Health, “only one in five college-age women who are sexually assaulted report the attack to the police.” Victims don’t feel comfortable going to the police or school officials because of how it might affect their reputation. Colleges and universities, however, can encourage more reporting if they can help students feel safer on campus. If students feel like they are in a safe environment, they are more likely to report incidents and take action to protect themselves in the future.
By protecting students, institutions are better able to protect themselves from lawsuits or Title IX fees. Sexual assault can be a major liability when it comes to Title IX procedural challenges. An article from Inside Higher Ed stated that “payouts resulting from Title IX procedural challenges, which went primarily to victims of sexual assault, surpassed the legal costs of large risks such as wrongful death or negligence and wrongful termination.” The fees that institutions have to pay for not having proper Title IX procedures can be very high. In September of 2019, the U.S. Department of Education “announced it will fine Michigan State University (MSU) a record $4.5 million.” Institutions that are charged with the Clery Fine take a financial hit as well as a hit to their reputation.
Higher education institutions can better protect themselves from Clery Fines and Title IX violations if they can quickly react to complaints and identify behavioral threats after an incident occurs. Symplicity Advocate is the trusted solution for student conduct, Title IX, and behavioral intervention. Advocate collects critical data to share with key decision-makers and ensures that everyone has the information needed to make the right decisions. Additionally, Advocate helps institutions avoid liability issues by ensuring compliance with DOE and OCR.