Reading, MA-A new database developed by the Chronicle of Higher Education found that only a small percent of college sexual harassment and assault cases have been resolved since 2011. Ten of those unresolved complaints that originated on college campuses in Massachusetts, including one case that has been open for over four and a half years.
The Chronicle of Higher Education examined 245 open federal cases of campus sexual harassment and sexual assault and found only 19 percent have been resolved since the Department of Education announced in May of 2014 that they were going to investigate over 55 colleges nationwide for Title IX violations.
At least 10 of those unresolved sexual assault cases are from colleges throughout Massachusetts including, University of Massachusetts, Boston College, Amherst College, Berklee College of Music, Boston University, Emerson College, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, and UMass-Dartmouth, according to the Patch.
Nearly two years later and little progress has been made, giving rise to the question: Why is it taking the Department of Education so long to investigate?
According to the Boston Globe, the Chronicle’s database shows how slow the agency is to investigate and resolve these cases because they simply don’t have the staff. The federal budget includes funding for more DOE employees to conduct investigations and the resolve the claims.
Resolving these complaints would give colleges and universities insight into what they can do to prevent sexual harassment and assault and how they can better the students who report it.
It is in the best interest of students to figure out how to curtail incidents on campuses in Massachusetts considering how pervasive a problem it is across the country. A report compiled by the DOE found looked sexual assault and rape in college campuses and found:
- 62 percent of college women and 61 percent of college men report being sexually harassed on campus.
- 60 percent of college students know at least one person who has been sexually harassed.
- Fewer than 10 percent of sexual harassment victim report their abuse.
The disparity in how many students experience harassment and assault and the number who actually report is a clear indication that colleges and universities need to improve how they respond to complaints from students.
Sexual assault and harassment are damaging. Victims admit to being upset about the incident, and they found it difficult to concentrate in class. Campus harassment needs to be corrected. Otherwise, it creates an atmosphere of permissiveness that could lead to escalation from an uninvited comment to an actual physical assault.
Victims of sexual harassment, whether the incident occurs on a college campus or in the workplace, should contact a sexual harassment lawyer in Massachusetts for legal support. A lawyer will help you put an end to your abuse and help you decide if you want to pursue civil action. USAttorneys can connect you with a workplace abuse lawyer so you can discuss your case and decide what course of action to take.