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9 stories that show how badly colleges handle sexual assault on campus

A student with a blue ribbon for sexual assault awareness.
A student with a blue ribbon for sexual assault awareness.
Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg
Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

An ongoing uproar has consumed Rolling Stone's lengthy article on an alleged rape on the University of Virginia campus. The magazine has apologized for the article after inconsistencies emerged in the victim's story.

But even as other media outlets found the people Rolling Stone didn't talk to and poked at the story's holes, no one has defended or disputed the details of the University of Virginia's response — including the university itself.

It's possible that could happen in the future. And it's also possible that, unfortunately, it hasn't faced blowback because it's all too believable. Eighty-six colleges are currently under Education Department investigation for mishandling sexual assault. The stories below give an idea of what victims have encountered at some of those schools when they have wanted their sexual assaults investigated or punished.

  1. A freshman, Anna, was allegedly raped in her second week at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York at a dance hall, allegedly by football players. A college panel cleared the football players in just 12 days and ignored evidence from Anna's rape kit, while Anna faced retaliation from fellow students. (The New York Times)
  2. A student at Florida State says she was raped by Florida State's star quarterback. The New York Times found "there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university."
  3. A freshman at Saint Mary's College, Lizzy Seeberg, reported to campus police in 2010 that she was sexually assaulted by a Notre Dame football player. The university didn't begin an investigation for 15 days — and in the interim, Seeberg committed suicide. (National Catholic Reporter)
  4. At the University of Missouri, a sophomore, Menu Corey, told a rape crisis counselor — and later a campus therapist, a campus nurse, and an athletic department administrator — that she had been sexually assaulted. The university never opened an investigation. Corey later killed herself. (ESPN)
  5. Thirty minutes after Amanda Tripp, a student at the University of Indianapolis, reported to campus police that she had been assaulted several weeks earlier, campus police stamped the report with "a crime did not occur." (Huffington Post)
  6. Sarah Patten, a student at Patrick Henry College, told administrators that a fellow student had sexually assaulted her and filed a formal complaint. The college responded that she had made an "error in judgment" by being alone in a boy's room, and told her "actions have consequences," according to what Patten told The New Republic.
  7. Sofie Karasek, a student at the University of California-Berkeley, filed a formal complaint saying she was sexually assaulted her freshman year. The university never told her if they were investigating her complaint or if the student involved was punished. (Al-Jazeera)
  8. Silvana Moccia, a student at the University of Connecticut, reported a rape to her hockey coach. In response, she was cut from the team. (The New York Times)
  9. A student at Columbia University, says she was sexually assaulted in the first semester of her freshman year. The student who assaulted her admitted it at a hearing, she says, and was only suspended for a year. (The New York Times)

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