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Colleges Under Pressure To Stem Sexual Assault

Over the past three years, a network of advocates for victims of sexual assault has made the case that campus rape is far more prevalent than most colleges like to admit. The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating dozens of colleges over their handling of sexual assault claims, including Harvard, Florida State and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Schools found out of compliance could lose access to federal student aid.

A new federal law requires colleges to educate students and new employees about the prevention of dating violence, sexual assault and stalking and to ensure “prompt, fair and impartial” disciplinary proceedings. Concerns about sexual violence on campus have grabbed the attention of America’s most powerful bully pulpit, the White House.

“This is sort of the moment in time we’ve all been waiting for,” Lynn Rosenthal, co-chair of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, told participants at a Dartmouth-sponsored summit on the issue in July.