Sexual Violence & Transparency: Investigations at 225 Higher Ed Schools

By on February 4, 2017

Calamity May gets upset when people (young or old) are assaulted because they lack self-assertion and self defense skills to prevent harm. Here’s the tip of one iceberg….

Today I received an updated list I’d requested. To me, it’s a combination of taboo topic and government transparency that started 2.5 years ago. On May 1, 2014, the Dept. of Education’s Office of Civil Rights began to publish a weekly list of schools, K-12 through universities, that are under investigation for mishandling crimes of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence (or attempts thereof), and stalking.

Under the law, if an elementary school or elite university receives federal funds it must, under Title IX’s Jeanne Clery Act, report these crimes and attempted crimes that occurred on campuses, in on-campus housing, and in off-campus buildings owned by schools.

Pending til Proven

If a victim of (attempted) rape, violence, or stalking, or if her/his parents think that their school didn’t handle their filed report properly, the school can become listed for potentially mishandling a reported violation. Until that case in investigated, a school’s violation is considered pending. Some schools have more than one pending violation. Schools found awry of federal law are fined (posted here); those proven to be free of misconduct are taken off the list.


Here are 3 lists I’ve collected over 2.5 years:

May 1, 2014    55 colleges & universities under investigation. (K-12 was not listed that first week).

Aug. 1, 2016    202 colleges & universities and 91 elementary & secondary schools under investigation for sexual violence violations.

Jan. 24, 2017   225 colleges & universities under investigation, with 306 reported violations. Some schools have more than one violation pending. (Though requested, K-12 list not sent yet).


To put this in perspective: for a sexual crime or attempted crime, a girl or boy, woman or man, would have to report the crime against them to proper authorities, i.e. campus police. Police have strict rules to follow through with a crime report.

Yet, those are the two bottlenecks to understanding this type of crime:

  • It has long been estimated that between 90-93% of all women attending higher education do not report sexual crimes, or attempted sex crimes to campus police; and,
  • Campus police and school authorities may choose to not reveal incidents, or, downgrade such crimes to lesser charges.

Maybe that’s changing, hard to tell. Are more students reporting real (not faked) crimes against them? I hope so. Are schools being forthcoming admitting higher incidents of campus crime? Hard to say.

Reporting is the strong and helpful step…..

If victims of crimes and attempted crimes do not step up to report assaults (yes, attempted rape, is a sexual assault charge) victims lose out on much needed support services; and, the assailant is free to assault again. 63% of sexual offenders  are repeat offenders.

I reveal pithy statistics about unreported and underreported crimes against people in my book, At Home In the Real World. These problems are far too prevalent in this country. There are things you can do….

Calamity says…

Prevention. Keep bad guys and/or unwanted people from getting into your residence.


Self Defense. Learn how to stop an assailant who gets into your dorm room, locker room, “remote” learning classroom, or anywhere you encounter someone who intends to do you harm.


Excerpt from At Home In the Real World. Part 1, Awareness

“We all have stories about troubles encountered and troubles evaded. Almost every woman I talk to has at least one tip on how to avoid trouble, whether it’s a ‘walking tall’ attitude learned from Mom, an intruder detection trick learned from Grandma, or keys-as-weapons in your hand learned from your friend. People have been beat up, robbed, raped or worse for millennia. Women are spared none of it. Many of us have picked up tips and well-meaning advice from friends, siblings and significant others to spare us from such harms. Some are even useful.

Many possibilities exist for bad things to happen to girls and women, boys and men. In the mix of pre-teens, high school, first dates, college campuses, workplaces, parties, cars, hotel rooms, or the sanctuary of one’s home—most people in their lifetime will be touched by negative experiences, violence, and/or extreme physical danger. When I bring up these topics, I often sense a quiet reluctance or an emotional shudder.

In my work as a water resource planner, I’ve worked on projects that are designed to ‘daylight’ streams. This is an environmental engineering practice that identifies clean streams or springs that have been routed into sewers, and restores them into the natural environment. Clean waters rescued from sewers flow again in sunshine and fresh air. With this in mind, it is my intent to daylight these taboo topics and the fears attached to them and bring them into the light.

Let’s have conversations about being proactive, intuitive, and aware. Let’s talk about choices that we can implement to strengthen our residences; about appropriate choices for self defense; and, about defending ourselves and/or families in a dark, scary-as-hell moment”.


Actions to take:
  • Download the Five Myths in the right column. Knowledge, not denial, is power.
  • The list of K-12 and post-secondary schools, are posted weekly. Understand the intent of the program here. Request a list here from the Office of Civil Rights,  or,,  asking for the “list of institutions under investigation for Title IX sexual violence issues”.
  • In the comments section below, please share your experiences and insights, and proactive measures you take, or wish you had taken, to be safe in school and ont campus.
  • Order Fox Labs pepper spray. A highly effective, well designed, portable, non-toxic and non-lethal self defense tool.

Suzy Meyer, Author
Pittsburgh, PA

I'm a landscape architect, gardener, and of late, a certified NRA instructor. I enjoy practicing T’ai Chi, playing bocce, and walking through watersheds.. This blog is my journey full of learning curves to calm the chaos.


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