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Sexual Assault on Campus: An Increasing Problem

Reports of sexual assaults on college campuses across the United States have seemed to be on the rise over the past several years. Many people are asking why universities are not doing more to protect their student populations from these types of attacks. Even the University Of North Carolina (UNC) has come under scrutiny for allegedly pressuring staffers to underreport instances of on-campus sexual assaults in filings to the U.S. Department of Education, as well as for its handling of several reported incidents. 

Last year, UNC was placed under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for its response to a number of on-campus sexual assault allegations. While colleges may not be sureties for their students’ safety and may often be exempt from liability for the intentional acts of third parties outside of their control, there are several scenarios in which a university may be civilly responsible for assaults that occur on campus. Specifically, Title IX of the Civil Rights Act makes universities potentially liable for student-to-student sexual assault when the following conditions are met: 

  • The university had actual knowledge of previous assaults
  • The university acted with deliberate indifference to that knowledge 

Other remedies may be available under both federal and state laws to victims of on-campus sexual assault. Under certain circumstances, campuses may also be found liable for student attacks if poor security measures allowed an assault to happen or if the assault was perpetrated by a staff member or other agent. It takes an experienced sexual assault attorney to evaluate your particular situation and determine the legal options available to you.

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