It seems there could be hope for sexually assaulted students who’ve been silenced.
The Obama administration continues to strengthen their stance on the ongoing prevalence of campus sexual assault by announcing they will no longer visit colleges whose staff fail to properly address the crimes.
The Washington Post reported the news on Sunday, stating:
According to White House officials, top members of the administration—including the president, the vice president, their wives and members of the Cabinet—will not visit institutions whose leaders they consider insufficiently serious about pursuing sexual-assault allegations and punishing perpetrators.
The news follows about month after Stanford rapist Brock Turner‘s sentence of three felony counts of sexual assault was shortened from six months in county jail to a likely three months with “good behavior.”
In June, Vice President Joe Biden wrote an emotional and heartfelt letter on BuzzFeed in response to the survivor’s own 12-page letter read aloud in court, encapsulating the nation’s outrage toward the mishandling of the case. Biden said, “A lot of people failed” the Stanford victim that night, including the university’s “culture that promotes passivity.”
“We will speak to change the culture on our college campuses—a culture that continues to ask the wrong questions: What were you wearing? Why were you there? What did you say? How much did you drink?” Biden asked.
The White House announced a new campaign earlier this year to end sexual assault on campus, telling college students “It’s On Us” to make a change. The pledge tells bystanders to identify hazardous situations and to intervene before potential sexual assaults occur.
The campaign couldn’t have come any sooner, as the Department of Education is currently investigating 253 cases into the handling of sexual assault on campus. That is five times the amount of cases from two years ago.
Baylor University in Waco, Texas, is one of many that have been under scrutiny with such crimes. The nation’s largest Baptist university has faced numerous sexual assault and domestic violence cases involving football players over the last seven years, and has failed to investigate them properly—if at all.
According to a police document obtained by ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Baylor officials and coaches knew about the sexual assault crimes and chose to turn a blind eye to the situation by not punishing or suspending the football players who were at fault. Even police allegedly took extraordinary steps to keep the case private by pulling it from the computer system and stashing it in a locked office. After media caught wind of the crimes, the university made a change, demoting the school’s President Ken Starr and firing football coach Art Briles.
According to the Huffington Post, 31 U.S. senators have warned that higher-education institutions could be possibly under-reporting domestic violence and sexual assault on campus—only 9 percent of 11,000 schools admitted to the knowledge of these cases.
Biden said in an interview that he “would like the federal government to take away their money” if campuses fail to make a change.