New Map Tool Displays Sexual Assault and Title IX Investigations at Universities


Image from Civic Nation: End Rape on Campus.

Trigger Warning: This article mentions sexual assault and harassment. The sexual assault hotline can be found here.

In Spring of 2022, there were 15.9 million students enrolled in a college or university in the United States. 13 percent of college students are sexually assaulted every year, which is roughly 2 million college students every 365 days, and those are only the reported cases. 

When I applied to colleges, my mother’s first priority, aside from finances, was the concern for my safety. Colleges and universities do not want their prospective students to know about the number of reported assaults on their students or investigations against their community because it will decrease the number of students (and parents) who would like to invest in education there. No one seems to mention how high the rates of reported sexual assaults are.

End Rape on Campus (EROC)is a program that researches and informs the public about Title IX investigations, reported assaults, rapes, dating and domestic violence and stalkings on over 1,000 college campuses around the United States. According to their website, EROC has helped over 50,000 survivors. One hundred new Title IX complaints have been made, and almost 60,000 signatures for the petition to strengthen Title IX since EROC was founded in 2013.

The EROC Mission

The organization’s main goals are to to inform and end campus sexual assault by focusing on three main pillars: support, education, and policy reform. 

Kenyora Parham is the Executive Director at EROC. In an interview with The Scarlet, she explained that her team provides support to survivors of sexual assault, domestic abuse and rape by establishing support networks for them. EROC offers programs to teach survivors how to access and file federal complaints to the Office for Civil Rights through the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Most importantly, Parham said she works to empower survivors to organize and fight for change on college campuses. 

One of their many programs, Speaker Series, provides training to staff, students, groups and individuals that surround the college community and develop resources on how to prevent sexual assault. The program encourages attendees to create change in their communities and educate those around them. They also work closely with victims of sexual assault, helping them to understand what their rights are under federal and state laws.

The community at EROC advocates for fair and equitable care, education, and support by the campus, local, state, and federal levels. This is mainly done through the Centering Emergence Framework, which focuses primarily on providing culturally responsive support to students who are disproportionately impacted by sexual assault, including, but not limited to, students of color, international students, low income students and students identifying with the LGBTQ+ community.

“The main thing, if anything, is to always ensure that students are prioritized first with access to the knowledge and resources that they need in order to navigate through a really tough experience” Parham said. “We want the students to have the information necessary with respect to the university that they attend, and know what type of resources that university provides them.” 

End Rape on Campus strives to change the direction and narrative on how safety is talked about on college campuses, especially when it comes to prospective students. 

The Map Tool

The map tool on the EROC website takes information from the United States Department of Education. More specifically, it uses federal campus security data that all institutions of higher education are required to report. Although this is public information, not many people know where to look or what to look for, especially when there is so much information regarding non-sexual-related crimes. This makes it difficult for people to know what resources are available to them, as they are often searching through layers of webpages for this specific information and it is not always accessible.

“Our main goal for this tool is to change that by centralizing data and important investigation policies in a readily accessible and easily available website,” Parham said. 

The new tool takes the information, primarily focused on reported sexual violence that occurs on campuses and puts it all in one, free, easy-to-navigate place. Much of the data has been crowdsourced by hundreds of volunteers that are a part of EROC’s research squad, that include parents, students, lawyers and other advocacy organizations. The volunteers have dedicated countless hours to search and update the information, as there is no standardized way to access it, and they will continue to dedicate their time as the website is often updated. 

As this is a new tool and technology is often not perfect, corrections to the data and to the site will be updated as immediately and appropriately as possible. The statistical data, however, will be updated at least once a year, once the information becomes available on the Department of Education’s website.

The tool will help parents, prospective students, and current students find the information they need to make an informed decision about the place where they will be spending the next part of their lives. This will also be helpful in holding colleges accountable for being proactive about preventing campus assaults. “It’s not always about the cost of tuition or your top ranking program. What it should be about is safety and how the college handles the safety on their college campuses” Pharam stated. 

Title IX Investigations 

The tool also states the number of, if any, Title IX investigations that the school has been under. A Title IX investigation occurs when a person has identified that the school itself has disproportionately handled its obligation under Title IX.

According to the Department of Education, all public and private schools, from elementary to universities and any schooling hereafter that receive Federal funds must follow obligations under Title IX and to publish a policy regarding discrimination on the basis of sex in education. Those schools have a responsibility to report any and all claims by students regarding sexual violence as quickly and efficiently as possible, as well as take action immediately to prevent further acts from continuing and address the effects it has had on the community. In addition, they are all required to have a coordinator for Title IX, whose information must be shared with everyone in the school’s community. This person is solely in charge of dealing with the compliance of Title IX. In addition to a coordinator, a set group of adults, often teachers and counselors, are required to be responsible employees, who must report if any act of sexual violence is shared with them. Of course, most students do not know of this person’s existence until they enter higher education levels. Apparently, it is not as important to mention if their money is on the line. 

For example, if a student reported their experience with the Title IX office, the coordinator would then reach out to the student and provide information on what the next steps would be in respect to their particular experience. If the student is then denied or delayed information, or if there is a lack of response from the Title IX office after following up on the next step, they could go to the Office for Civil Rights to file a Title IX complaint. Anyone could file this complaint if their school has not lived up to their obligations under Title IX. 

Filing a Title IX report in general can not only be a tedious experience, but it can also bring back traumatic memories, hence why many students do not choose to come forward to responsible employees. Filing a complaint seems like a lot more work and a lot more post-trauma to deal with. You can submit both the report and the complaint anonymously, however, you are far less likely to get an investigation or get far in your report if you do so. 

“The program is more than willing to work with campuses and Title IX offices in order to make effective responses  to investigations, reports, and other policies. We are here to help,” Parham said. 

Although Clark University does not have any information about any investigations, assaults, or violence to students reported on this site, it does not mean there is nothing that has happened at Clark, or nothing will happen in the future. End Rape on Campus is more than just notifying what has happened, but preventing what will happen in the future. Paraham emphasized EROC’s hope is that there is a world where each individual has an educational experience without going through a violent trauma, and because there is not yet one that exists, they will work to make sure that all survivors are believed, trusted, and supported, in the best ways that they can be.