They don't even call it rape.

CREDO action
Tell college and university presidents: Stop protecting rapists on campus

The petition to college and university presidents reads:
"Rape is rape. Presidents of colleges and universities must ensure that rape is treated like the crime that it is, and take swift action to address policies and procedures when evidence is presented of gross mishandling of sexual assault incidents on campus."

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Dear 5849376,

At Yale University and a disturbing number of colleges and universities across the country, they don't even call it "rape." Rape is officially referred to as "nonconsensual sex" and campus perpetrators of sexual assault often face written reprimand rather than expulsion or more severe penalties, if any action is taken at all.

What's worse, many of these schools also pressure rape survivors not to report the actions to local police or pursue criminal charges. Instead, they handle the matters quietly and often without penalties, in what often amounts to an official policy of covering up rape and shaming the victims.

Tell college and university presidents: Stop protecting rapists on campus. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

In 2011, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights opened a federal investigation of Yale "for its failure to eliminate a hostile sexual environment on campus, in violation of Title IX." Title IX is the federal law that was enacted to eliminate discrimination in higher education on the basis of sex.

That investigation has now ended with a voluntary agreement by Yale to improve conditions on campus for women and the university has now reported publicly on its progress. As reported on the blog Jezebel:1, 2

Yale has formally found sufficient evidence against six perpetrators of "nonconsensual sex" so far in 2013. Of these six perpetrators, only one was suspended, and only for one year. Four received "written reprimands," and one is on "probation."

And just last week it was reported that the Department of Education launched an investigation of the University of Southern California. A student coalition asserts that the school violated women's civil rights by its gross mishandling of their rape cases, including a student who reported that campus authorities said her attacker didn't commit sexual assault because "he didn't orgasm." She also stated that "the school did everything it could" to discourage her from talking about being raped or reporting the attack to the Los Angeles Police Department.3, 4

Shamefully, it's not just Yale and USC. In 2013 alone, students from the University of Colorado, University of North Carolina, Occidental College, and Swarthmore College have all filed Title IX civil rights complaints with the Department of Education as a result of their colleges and universities protecting rapists rather than seeking justice for rape and sexual assault survivors.5

Tell college and university presidents: Stop protecting rapists on campus. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Investigations by the Department of Education can take years and lead to voluntary settlements like the recent agreement with Yale University. But college and university presidents have the authority to take action immediately to change policy and procedures on campus.

It's time for the presidents of colleges and universities to stop turning a blind eye to rape, or prioritizing the reputation of their school over the safety of their community.

Tell college and university presidents: Stop protecting rapists on campus. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Thanks for fighting to stop rape on college campuses.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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Learn more about this campaign

1. "Yale Officially Declares 'Nonconsensual Sex' Not That Big of a Deal," Jezebel, 8/1/13
2. To download Yale University's "Report of Complaints of Sexual Misconduct", click here.
3. "Student Group: USC Mishandles Sexual-Assault Cases," KTLA 5, 7/22/13
4. "Add USC to growing 'Colleges Making Rapes Worse' list," Washington Post, 7/26/13
5. "USC Students Turn to Feds for Action on Alleged Rapes," ABC News Radio, 7/25/13

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