University Buried Rape Cases Because It Was Afraid of Revealing the Grades of Alleged Rapists?

Yet another university administration makes excuses for failing to protect female students on campus.

Here’s the latest (and one of the lamest) excuses a university is using to explain why it didn’t report cases of campus rape to the police: the school was afraid of revealing the grades of the alleged rapists.

In the hierarchy of information, most would agree that it’s more important to know whether someone is a rapist than whether someone is failing Chem 100. But administrators at Oklahoma State University apparently misunderstood the Federal Education Rights Privacy Act, which grants students some rights to privacy about their grades and other information. Nevertheless, in a moment of over-zealousness, the university decided not to go to the police multiple times to report alleged sexual assaults, because it—it says—it was worried about violating this privacy act.

Oklahoma State's interpretation of the act was incorrect; the legislation allows administrations to call the campus police to investigate crimes. Whether the school genuinely misunderstood to act or used it as a shield to avoid reporting allegations of sexual assault remains unclear.

This news comes amidst the University of North Carolina continues to cause controversy over its efforts to intimidate a female student who has been outspoken about her sexual assault.




Laura Gottesdiener is a freelance journalist and the author of "A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home," forthcoming from Zuccotti Park Press.

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