Colleges consider best practices for sexual assault alerts
- The Christian Science Monitor reports on the growing number of considerations colleges and universities face when a sexual assault is alleged on campus and a decision must be made about sending campus-wide alert.
- Students at San Jose State University criticized administration for not sending an alert in connection with two reported assaults last month, but observers say that alerts can cause undue panic and pose a threat to an alleged attacker without solid evidence or due process.
- Some institutions, like Lasell College, have a Title IX team dedicated to analyzing and deciding how to handle matters pertaining to sexual assault cases, including campus alerts.
One typical approach for when to send a campus alert is when an alleged or actual crime is in progress on campus, so that students can seek shelter or to avoid certain areas on campus. For sexual assaults, which can be reported days or week after the incident occurs, alerts may be less practical, as the urgency behind the alert diminishes.
Campus officials should consider a weekly newsletter, a crime log that is auspiciously sent or promoted to students, or another transparent system for promoting Clery Act information without compromising students ignoring or opting out of campus alerts for information they may not perceive to be related to an active threat.
- Christian Science Monitor When should campuses alert students about a sexual assault?