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Dartmouth under fire for response to incidents of rape on campus

Sunday News Correspondent

March 15. 2014 9:26PM

HANOVER - A national women's group has started an online petition calling out Dartmouth College as a "chronic offender" of failing to protect female students from sexual assault.

The petition, by the group UltraViolet, has nearly 50,000 signatures so far and demands Dartmouth take action."Dartmouth has a decades-long history with this problem, but they continue to drag their feet. They have students protesting and asking them to address the problem," Karin Roland, campaign director of UltraViolet, said Friday.According to Ultraviolet and the Huffington Post, a Dartmouth student was sexually assaulted on campus weeks after her name was posted to a "rape guide" on a website used by Dartmouth students.

The post, which according to the Huffington Post named the woman and the residence hall where she lives, appeared on the anonymous message of Bored@Baker, a website restricted to those with a Dartmouth email address.Dartmouth College responded to the petition on Thursday with a statement from Justin Anderson, the Dartmouth's Assistant Vice President for Media Relations.

"It is important to note the offending post was authored by a single individual and did not appear on a Dartmouth-hosted site, nor is it one run by Dartmouth students.The post was removed and the author, who is not presently enrolled, was identified and faces the college disciplinary process," Anderson said in the statement.

"Further, we investigate every instance of sexual assault reported to the college and offer multiple levels of support and resources to every survivor." In this particular case, no report of sexual assault has been made to the college by the individual. We continue to remain in contact with her to ensure she is getting all of the support we can provide."Anderson also said that last weekend Dartmouth Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed a proposal to strengthen sanctions in cases of sexual assault to include mandatory expulsion.

The college is taking comments and suggestions on the new policy until April 14 with the hope of implementing the new policy by the beginning of the summer term.Before last week, Dartmouth's latest crime data showed 24 forcible sex offenses reported in 2012, up from 15 in 2011. There were 10 reported sexual assaults at Dartmouth in 2009, and 22 in 2010.

The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights launched an investigation of Dartmouth's prevention and response efforts toward sexual harassment last May.

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