Thursday, December 3, 2009

From a Fellow Advocate

from Angelo Trivisonno, Hotline Advocates since Spring 2009

Sexual Assault on Campus Shrouded in Secrecy
High Rates of Rape, Closed Hearings, and Confusing Laws

This article is interesting because it highlights how universities use federal privacy laws to effectively "smokescreen" their administrative hearings and marginalize survivors of sexual assault. I think that this is an embarrassment to the institution of higher education, and feel that the issue isn't truly about student privacy as administrators say, but about a college's reputation and image to the public and the campus community.

Based on the accounts in this story, CRCC hotline calls I've received, and stories I've heard during my time in undergrad, I know that campuses unfortunately are not as safe as they seem.Legislators at both the federal and state levels need to take a serious look at the legislation they have written and correct these obvious failures to prevent sexual assaults on college campuses.

Perhaps Congress can create a commission to investigate and make suggestions on how to reconcile both the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Clery Act to ensure both privacy AND safety on campus. Congress has written thousands upon thousands of pages of legislation this year alone--you would think a legislator could dedicate a few dozen pages to address this rampant problem.

Until someone acts, the fear of sexual assault on campus will continue to haunt students, and the voices of survivors will remain silent and suppressed.

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