Sanders on rape and sexual assaults on campus

11:42 AM College Lawyer Blog 0 Comments



Thursday, 1/14/16

MOUNT PLEASANT, MICHIGAN


Bernie Sanders recently made a remark that has many activists buzzing.

Sanders claimed that sexual assaults on college campuses should be handled by local law enforcement instead of officials at the campuses that they are reported on.

He said, "Rape and assault is rape or assault whether it takes place on a campus or on a dark street... If a student rapes another student it has got to be understood as a very serious crime, it has to get outside of the school and have a police investigation and that has to take place."  Sanders thought process makes sense.  Rape is a crime and criminal acts are to be dealt with by law enforcement.

However, the concept of mandatory law enforcement involvement in campus rapes and sexual assaults is being met with uncertainty.  There are various factors that go into reporting sexual related crimes.  These victims are balancing the stress induced from the trauma of their attack combined with the stresses brought upon by being in a university setting.

The reason that institutions of higher learning are able to deal with student sexual assault cases is because of Title IX.  This law prohibits discrimination of sex in any federally funded educational program.  Students that are raped are considered to have been deprived of their right to education. Therefore, the school has jurisdiction over the issue.

Police involvement can add more stress to the victim. Yes, justice needs to be served, but it is just as important to cater to the needs of the victims. This is why many universities have implemented programs to help these victims cope. Not only do these programs provide an outlet for their feelings, but they are also structured to provide help with staying focused on academics and maintaining their employment.

Rape and sexual assault are terrible things and its effects are unpredictable.  That is why it is of the utmost importance to assure that these issues are handled correctly.

Seth Canner
Levitt Law Firm, Law Clerk 

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