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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Blow the whistle on rape

    Rape is not an administrative issue; it’s a legal one.

    A new bill in Virginia would move on-campus felony crimes from college police departments to local police. Comparatively, in Tucson, if a crime like rape takes place on university property, the campus police head the investigation, according to a representative from the Adult Sexual Assault Unit for the Tucson Police Department.

    At the UA, the police can only handle the investigation if the student reports it to them directly. If not, students report it to the dean and it’s handled “in house.”

    “‘Sexual misconduct’ means engaging in any non-consensual sexual contact with another person,” according to the UA’s Student Code of Conduct. It’s prohibited conduct and subject to an investigation by the Dean of Students.

    The Dean of Students is not who should be investigating sexual misconduct. It’s not something that only affects students, it’s a crime. Only 7 percent of sex crimes reported on college campuses in the past six years resulted in arrests, and about 2.3 percent resulted in convictions, according to a survey conducted by the Chicago Tribune.

    So, one of the easiest places to get away with rape is a college campus. In 2009, there were five reported forcible sexual assaults, one in 2008, and eight in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Education. These numbers are different than what is reported by the University of Arizona Police Department, because some students only report to the dean, said UAPD public information officer Sgt. Juan Alavarez.

    “They are reported directly to the Dean of Students Office, not to us, and some don’t even get to us,” Alvarez said.

    Students are doing a disservice to their fellow Wildcats if they are only reporting this to the dean. If it happens once, it can happen again and the victim should report it to the police so that there is a public record. Victims do not have to press charges unless they choose to, but having a precedence could help a potential additional victim. How can campus police be expected to do their jobs to the highest extent that they can if they are not given all the information on illegal happenings on campus?

    Let’s say 20 students are sexually assaulted and only two go to the police, how are police to know about this staggering problem? What would happen if the same student raped multiple people? And victims only reported to the Dean of Students Office? How can police protect students if they’re kept in the dark and handcuffed by policy?

    If someone reports that kind of serious allegation, the dean should be required to send it to the police.

    — Michelle A. Monroe is a journalism senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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