The number of students charged with sexual assault at Columbia University is not being disclosed even though the students responsible for the crimes have been punished and there is growing pressure for the school to release the information. The university is not showing any signs of budging on their decision, writes Tyler Kingkade at Huffington Post, though pressure is coming in the form of 650 students signing a petition organized by the Columbia Democrats.
“The petition, addressed to Columbia administrators, requests the “number and nature of sexual assaults, rapes, and incidents of gender-based harassment and misconduct reported to Columbia University and Barnard College,” as well as the number of cases addressed with campus-judicial proceedings, the number of students found responsible and the types of sanctions levied.”
The Clery Act that says the number of sexual offences must be disclosed, but not whether they were investigated. Sejal Singh, the president of Columbia Democrats, has made it clear that they are not after any individuals and require nobody to be identified. They are only asking for some statistical data related to the crimes that were committed.
Furthermore, the petition was supported by the Columbia Political Union among other groups.
“I think it’s a pretty reasonable thing to ask. You shouldn’t wait until something horrible happens that makes you adjust [school policy],” sophomore Sarah Weinstein said. “We want to prevent that in advance from happening.”
The Huffington Post was denied a request by Columbia relating to the release of the number accused and then punished for sexual crimes. Federal Privacy laws were used as the reason for not releasing the information and there are no appeals to the decision.
However, the community seems unhappy about the University hiding behind the privacy law in order to conceal the statistics. Advocates claim that there is no reason not to release the information since individuals will not be identified.
“LoMonte said. “It’s just not even a good faith argument at all. There’s no way that statistics are [federally protected] information because they don’t lead to identifying anyone.””
However, it seems that the university is sticking to their decision.