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Colleges Underreport Sexual Assaults, Even After They’re Fined, Study Concludes

Report: “Concealing Campus Sexual Assault: An Empirical Examination”

Author: Corey Rayburn Yung, a law professor at the University of Kansas

Organization: American Psychological Association

Summary: Mr. Yung analyzed the numbers of on-campus sexual assaults reported by 31 large colleges and universities (each with more than 10,000 students) during U.S. Department of Education audits conducted from 2001 to 2012. While the universities were being scrutinized, assault reports jumped by an average of 44 percent. But once the audits were over, the numbers fell back to pre-audit levels. That was true even when universities were fined for noncompliance.

Mr. Yung’s conclusion: As long as the feds were watching, universities painted an accurate picture of the sexual assaults happening on their campuses. The rest of the time, they played down the numbers. “The result is students at many universities continue to be attacked and victimized,” he writes, “and punishment isn’t meted out to the rapists and sexual assaulters.”

Bottom Line: Campuses should be audited more frequently and hit with heftier fines, the author says, to get them to take their reporting requirements seriously.

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