BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Taking action. Three Maryland universities are under federal investigation for how they’ve handled sexual assaults—and another assault, just days ago at Johns Hopkins, is putting that school’s response in the spotlight.
Mike Hellgren has more on what’s being done.
It happened at a frat house and now fraternities at Hopkins are not allowed to hold social events until a new plan is in place to keep students safe. In this case, notification was far faster than after an alleged gang rape at the school last year.
Johns Hopkins officials notified students just three and a half hours after a 16-year-old girl reported being sexually assaulted at a frat party a week ago, then quickly moved to ban parties at all frats.
They told us that it happened. They told us they’re investigating it. At this time, I don’t think there’s anything else they should be telling us,” said sophomore John Smith.
“There is a lot of anger on this campus about the university not releasing too much information to the students about what actually happened,” said a sophomore who didn’t want to be identified.
Despite repeated requests, no one with the Johns Hopkins University would speak about the issue of sexual assault or this case, but the university did issue a statement talking about the importance of keeping visitors and students safe.
Hopkins is one of 85 schools under federal investigation for violating reporting regulations following how the school handled an alleged gang rape at another frat house in 2013. Emails WJZ obtained showed university officials discussing how notifying students right away could create unwanted attention.
“There is this idea that we need to keep the image of the school rather than worry about the safety of individual students and that’s historically been wrong, and we’re trying to change that,” said Laura Dunn, SurvJustice. “I think the federal government is paying attention to that change.”
But it’s not just here. At Brown University, the school confirmed a student was served a date rape drug at a fraternity party and reported being sexually assaulted. Administrators have since sent multiple updates and plan two forums on sexual assault.
Alison Kiss at the Clery Center trains universities to comply with federal law on reporting and preventing sexual assaults.
“I think what we’re seeing at Brown is really what the theme has been lately with campuses—balancing transparencies along with protecting victims’ rights,” Kiss said.
Making a difference in what students know about sexual assault and when they know it.
Other schools under federal investigation for handling of sexual assaults include Frostburg and Morgan State universities.
According to published reports, the most recent sexual assault happened in a bathroom at a Sigma Alpha Epsilon party. Neither the suspects nor the victim are university students.