Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Federal Ruling Says Colleges and Universities Can't Silence Rape Victims

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Federal Ruling Says Colleges and Universities Can't Silence Rape Victims

Article excerpt

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA.

As millions of college students prepare to go back to school in the next few weeks, campus crime victim advocates are hailing a landmark federal ruling that will help improve safety on college and university campuses across the country. In last month's ruling against Georgetown University, the U.S. Department of Education held that it is illegal for a college to make a campus rape victim sign a confidentiality agreement in order to be told the results of disciplinary action taken against their alleged assailant.

Under the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, sexual assault victims must unconditionally be told these results the federal agency ruled. Institutions that violate the law face lines of up to $27,000 per violation or loss of eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs.

"The ruling significantly advances student safety and marks a major improvement in the way our nation treats campus assault victims," said Connie Clery, CEO and co-founder of the national nonprofit victim assistance organization Security on Campus Inc. Clery and her husband, Howard, championed federal campus crime reporting and victims' rights legislation after they experienced first-hand the tragedy of campus violence.

"As our own family learned, after my daughter Jeanne was brutally raped and murdered on campus, colleges don't want their images sullied by public crime reports," said Clery. …

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