Target: C. L. Max Nikias, President of the University of Southern California
Goal: Strengthen policies on on-campus sexual assault
Recently, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it would begin a civil rights investigation of the University of Southern California because of alleged dismissal of incidents of rape on campus. The investigation, based the 1972 Title IX law which provides for gender equity in education, was announced after a group of students at the school filed a complaint stating the university did little to stop sexual assault on campus.
The students’ stories point to a callous lack of concern on the part of campus police and authorities. One student, Ari Mostov, was told she should not pursue a complaint by campus police because her assailant “didn’t orgasm.” She reported to ABC News that USC administrators told her “if I called LAPD, the detectives would be very tough on me and that defense lawyers would call me names.”
Other stories shared by students include one where the university dismissed a recorded confession by a rape perpetrator, as well as another where a female student who reported rape was told that women cannot “go out, get drunk and expect not to get raped.” The allegations here, needless to say, are shocking.
Students have the right to feel secure at where they attend school, and that includes expecting that university officials will not turn a blind eye to rape. By signing this petition, you will demand that USC create and enforce new policies treating sexual assault as the serious crime it is.
Dear President Nikias,
The U.S. Department of Education recently announced it would begin a Title IX civil rights investigation into your school regarding alleged dismissal of sexual assault reports on campus. The federal agency stated it began this action due to multiple complaints from students that incidents of rape were dealt with through either small punishments to perpetrators or outright dismissal of complaints.
As you know, the students’ stories are shocking. One, Ari Mostov, stated she was told by campus police that she was not raped because her attacker “didn’t orgasm.” She further alleged that she was told by university officials she should not call the Los Angeles Police Department as detectives and lawyers would harass and intimidate her.
Another shocking account was one where a student, who wished her name to be anonymous, stated that the university dismissed her case despite her having a recording of her ex-boyfriend admitting to raping her. Lastly, a third story involved a student being told by campus police women cannot “go out, get drunk, and not expected to be raped.”
If true, these allegations show a university culture where sexual assault is ignored rather than treated as the serious crime it is. The USC administration has the responsibility to ensure rape prevention on campus through strengthening, clarifying, and enforcing its policies on reported cases. I ask that you take action on this urgent matter.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Brion Vibber via Wikimedia Commons