School Must Improve Handling of Assault Cases

     (CN) — A Christian liberal-arts college in Massachusetts reached a deal with the government to revise the way it investigates reports of sexual assault and harassment on campus.
     Under the new guidelines, Wheaton College must train staff to timely investigate students’ reports of sexual assault, sex-based crimes and sexual-discrimination claims while ensuring victims are shielded from backlash by their offenders.
     The U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation after the school allegedly mishandled a female student’s accusations that she was raped by another student who was also her next-door neighbor.
     According to reports, not only did school administrators drop the ball on processing the woman’s claims, they also failed to stop the man from harassing and antagonizing her on campus, resulting in her transferring to another school.
     “I don’t have a lot of faith in the system,” the student said in a released statement. “I hope it can get better, but I really think the best way to tackle it now is kind of through social change.”
     The Justice Department also discovered the school put off investigating another woman’s allegations of student-on-student rape until she filed a second complaint.
     Wheaton College agreed to implement new guidelines on handling sex crimes on campus, hire and train full-time staff to protect alleged victims, and follow through on resolving sexual-assault reports.
     The university came under public scrutiny last year after it cancelled students’ health-insurance coverage following a mandate that allows women to receive free birth control under Obamacare. The decision came days after the Seventh Circuit ruled that Wheaton College must offer emergency contraceptive drug coverage to its employees and students.
     Even though hundreds of students lost coverage previously included in its enrollment package, the school stood behind its decision because the use of contraception contradicts its religious convictions.

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