BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Months after an alleged gang rape at an off campus fraternity house, Johns Hopkins University is under federal investigation for the way the case was handled.
Jessica Kartalija explains the school may have violated two federal laws designed to keep students safe.
There is an investigation into whether the school tried to cover up allegations of sexual assault to protect the university’s reputation.
The U.S. Department of Education has opened a formal investigation into the way Johns Hopkins University officials responded to an alleged rape at an off-campus fraternity house.
“Schools are required, when there is an ongoing risk to other members, to give a timely notice of the violence,” said Laura Dunn.
Dunn heads the group that filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s civil rights office on behalf of Johns Hopkins students.
Claiming the university broke federal laws–like the Clery Act and Title IX–failing to notify the student body about allegations of a gang rape at a fraternity house.
“When survivors come forward, you need to listen to them and you need to take an appropriate action and make sure you are really creating a safe environment for all students on campus,” Dunn said.
Emails were included in the complaint, where university officials discuss how a warning could create unwanted attention. But divides over acknowledging the possible rape so publicly and concern over the criticism they could take for not acting months after the allegation was made.
In response to the federal investigation, Hopkins president Ron Daniels pledges full cooperation with the investigation, saying “the university over the past year has undertaken a comprehensive self-assessment – reviewing policies and procedures on sexual violence and developing new initiatives to support our students and enhance the safety and security of our campuses.”
In May, dozens of Hopkins students held a rally–saying they felt sexual assault cases were being downplayed to protect the university’s reputation.
“It’s important for the administration to articulate when things like sexual assault are happening on campus so we can make better decisions ourselves too,” said Shelby Quinn, rally organizer.
A total of 76 colleges and universities are currently under federal investigation. In Maryland, Morgan State University and Frostburg State University are also under investigation.
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