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By Vivian Nunez
October 9, 2014
Credit : Flickr user Wolfram Burner.

On any campus in the nation, the chances of being expelled for sexually assaulting someone are astonishingly small. In fact, less than one-third of those found guilty of sexually assaulting another student will ever be faced with expulsion.

“Students found responsible for sexual assault were expelled in 30 percent of cases and suspended in 47 percent of cases,” found a study conducted by The Huffington Post.  

The harrowing statistics come at a time when more and more organizations and campaigns are demanding to be made privy to data and statistics once held private by universities. For one, the ongoing Title IX investigation by the Department of Education has made public the growing list of colleges that may have mishandled cases of sexual violence.

A study over the summer by Senator McCaskill’s (D-MO) office found that athletic departments and campus sexual assault cases aren’t as independent as once believed. Further investigation into a number of other sexual assault cases involving athletes on campuses found that the punishment tended to not fit the crime.

The same dissonance between punishment and crime can be found throughout varied instances of campus sexual assault.

“In four cases that became public this year, at the University of Kansas, Michigan State University and the University of Toledo, students found responsible for sexual assault weren’t suspended or expelled,” wrote The Huffington Post. “But rather received probation and educational sanctions.”

The reason why universities are legally allowed, or even encouraged, to give a more lenient punishment can be traced back to the Association for Student Conduct Administration.

The ASCS is responsible “for telling universities across the nation not to be “punitive” when handling campus rape,” reports The Huffington Post.

In an effort to make the investigation process of a sexual assault the most educational process possible, the ASCS recommends stripping it of its legal language.

Laura Bennett, acting ASCS president, told The Huffington Post: “‘Rape is a legal, criminal term. We’re trying to continue to share we’re not court, we don’t want to be court — we want to provide an administrative, educative process.”

Many universities choose to abide by ASCS rules and definitions. This choice gives institutions the option to affirm the need to make the punishments of those guilty of sexually assaulting someone the most educational experience possible, which expulsion would not fall under.

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