PRESS RELEASE

 

Contact: Chris Perry

Telephone: 301-801-0608

Email: cperry@saveservices.org

 

SAVE Urges Massachusetts Lawmakers to End Campus Rape Tribunals

 

WASHINGTON / April 10, 2017 – The current system of campus-based adjudications for sexual assault has turned out to be inefficient, unfair, and in some cases harmful, according to a report released by the non-profit group, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments. The report, “Six-Year Experiment in Campus Jurisprudence Fails to Make the Grade,” was issued on the six-year anniversary of the controversial “Dear Colleague Letter” on sexual violence, first issued by the Department of Education on April 4, 2011.

 

The “Dear Colleague Letter” has not led to respectful, fair, and prompt resolutions. Rather, complaints to the Office for Civil Rights and federal lawsuits that identify flawed campus procedures increased six-fold after the Department of Education letter was released.

 

The SAVE report identifies numerous cases in which identified victims of sexual assault claimed their colleges failed to appropriately investigate, adjudicate, and sanction their complaints. In one case, a female student charged that campus authorities at Harvard University showed “deliberate indifference” to her sexual assault claim. Her claim focused not only on the school’s initial response, but also on the University’s failure to respond “to her multiple reports that she was subjected to continuous, retaliatory harassment by [John] Doe and his friends.”

 

Numerous accused students have filed federal lawsuits as well. In one recent case, a judge criticized Brandeis University for “appear[ing] to have substantially impaired, if not eliminated, an accused student’s right to a fair and impartial process.” Among the 51 known lawsuits filed by accused students since 2012, a majority of the rulings from federal judges have been decided at least partly in favor of the expelled student.

 

The Massachusetts legislature is currently considering S.706 and H.632 which would codify many provisions of the “Dear Colleague Letter.” Instead, SAVE urges the enactment of the Campus Equality, Fairness, and Transparency Act. CEFTA aims to protect all students by encouraging the referral of campus rape cases to law enforcement officials and providing due process: http://www.saveservices.org/sexual-assault/cefta/.

 

Identified victims and accused students share a common, over-riding interest in assuring the investigative and adjudicatory process is conducted in a respectful, prompt, and fair manner in order to reach reliable outcomes.

 

The SAVE report can be viewed here: http://www.saveservices.org/reports/.

 

SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments) is working for fair and effective solutions to campus sexual assault: www.saveservices.org