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February 22, 2010
1:04 PM

CONTACT: Center for Public Integrity (CPI)

Steve Carpinelli, 202-481-1225
Rachel Hamrick, 202-261-2386

CPI Report Uncovers Culture of Indifference and Leniency Surrounding Sexual Assault on College Campuses Around the Country

Weak Punishments, Repeat Offenders, and Minimal Oversight Compound Victimization

WASHINGTON - February 22 - On Wednesday, February 24th, the Center for Public Integrity will host a press call to release a report on the culture of indifference surrounding sexual assault on college campuses across the country.  The report is the second installment of stories spawning from a 12-month investigation that uncovered a host of institutional problems surrounding alleged sexual assaults, and how they are handled by school and federal administrations. Speakers, including the mother of a female student featured in the series, will discuss the leniency afforded to those found responsible, the role of repeat offenders on college campuses, and the Department of Education's track record of enforcement.

The Center's investigation examines Justice Department data and other information and discovers that "responsible" findings rarely lead to tough punishments like expulsion-even in cases involving alleged repeat offenders. The report also reviews the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights' track record of enforcing Title IX and finds that only a small number of alleged botched school proceedings are investigated.

WHAT:            CPI Hosts a Press Call Release on the Second Installment of an Eye Opening Report on Campus Sexual Assault

WHO:              Bill Buzenberg, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity

Kristen Lombardi, lead reporter from the Center for Public Integrity

Laura Frank, director of the Rocky Mountain Investigative News Network

Eva, mother of a former Indiana University student featured in the Campus Assault series

WHEN:            Wednesday, February 24th at 1 PM EST

HOW:              Number: 800-895-0231, Conference ID: CAMPUS

The Center interviewed 50 experts familiar with the college disciplinary process - student affairs administrators, conduct hearing officers, assault services directors, and victim advocates-as well as 33 female students who reported being sexually assaulted by other college students. The Center has also surveyed 152 crisis-services programs and clinics on or near college campuses over the past academic year. The inquiry included a review of records in select cases, and examinations of 10 years worth of complaints filed against institutions with the Education Department under Title IX and the Clery Act - two laws requiring schools to respond to assault claims and to offer key rights to alleged victims.

Lead reporter Kristen Lombardi is an award-winning journalist who has worked for the Center for Public Integrity since 2007. She has been a journalist for more than 14 years.  Most recently, she was a staff writer and investigative reporter at The Village Voice, where she provided groundbreaking coverage of the 9/11 health crisis.  Her investigative reporting has been honored by the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, and the New England Press Association, and she was awarded a fellowship from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma for her coverage of abuse.

The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern. The Center is non-partisan and non-advocacy. We are committed to transparent and comprehensive reporting both in the United States and around the world.


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