At Yale University, a new source of underground communication has developed for women who aim to protect themselves from men they say have engaged in sexual assault or harassment.
"There is such a large whisper network on campus, men on campus who have been flagged …It's all very much an open secret," an anonymous female student explained to Business Insider.
Sororities are also getting involved, forbidding certain male students from social events. One student group, Unite Against Sexual Assault Yale, was started by Yale senior Helen Price as students felt they could not trust the university to help them against assailants.
"It's well known on campus that there are certain people who are sexually aggressive, and that information is conveyed through informal channels of communication, particularly among women," Price said.
These secret conversations have been an ongoing act at Yale, and students have said they feel the police department, student organizations, and university officials are failing them after numerous independent incidents involving men.
According to Title IX, all schools are required to “process all complaints of sexual violence, regardless of where the conduct occurred to determine whether the conduct occurred in the context of an education program or activity or had continuing effects on campus or in an off-campus education program or activity.”
A recurring issue is that a lot of schools are either not following this requirement to the fullest extent, or some students aren’t fully aware of the help surrounding them, such as what resources are available and where to find them.
A 2015 report indicated that the sexual assault rate for women at Penn is 27 percent and 5 percent for male undergraduates.
In a recent Penn Professional Staff Assembly talk with Penn Provost Wendell Pritchett, Pritchett explained that the University has been constantly reassessing its own policies and thinking about how to improve. The University also revoked the honorary degrees of former Trustee Steve Wynn and Bill Crosby, which largely generated support among students on campus but still prompted questions into how Penn's bold approach will translate to campus.
This year, the Interfraternity Council recently changed requirements for the New Member Education Programs of Penn fraternities. For this spring, fraternities are required to send members to at least three of nine options, which include health education courses, the Vagina Monologues, and the Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault Presentation.
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