Sexual assault on campus: Columbia case is part of larger issue
By Thomas Ricotta on May 12th, 2014 in Sexual Harassment
We’re in the midst of a series on legal protections against sexual harassment.
Last week, in our May 9 post, we took note of the protections available under federal law, particularly Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
We will conclude that post next week by discussing steps for enforcing Title VII protections. In today’s post, we will update you on a breaking news story on a related topic. The story concerns colleges that may have mishandled sexual assault investigations.
The list contains the name of several elite schools, including Columbia University here in New York City.
The U.S. Department of Education is investigating Columbia and more than 50 other schools for not responding appropriately to sexual assault allegations. Students at Columbia and Bernard College have also filed a complaint with the department, contending that two federal laws were violated.
One of these laws is Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sex discrimination in higher education. Sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX includes sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The other law in question in these college cases is the Clery Act. The Clery Act is a federal law that directs colleges and universities to make annual reports of sexual assaults that occur on their campuses.
As we noted in our article on sexual assault on college campuses, such assaults are still a serious problem on campus.
The problem goes far beyond raging hormones among college-age men. It involves college or university administrations that are accused of failing to take action against repeat offenders and discouraging proper reporting of sexual assault cases.