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Tottering home across the East Lansing campus, Ashley frequently stopped to get her balance, wondering if she would fall off a bridge into the Red Cedar River. Related: How the Free Press produced campus assault series. Ashley — her story backed by university documents inspected by the Free Press — felt she had the worst hangover ever but couldn't remember why. The year-old sophomore remembered drinking three shots the night before, but why had that wrecked her so much? Why couldn't she remember the whole night?
Why did she have a fleeting memory of a male student standing over her? Had she been drugged and raped? The fall semester at MSU was just getting under way and Ashley spent the rest of that day becoming increasingly convinced she had been raped. By the end of the day, she was telling her story to police. Nearly two years later, she has ed an unhappy chorus of voices critical of how universities handle sexual assault reports. Database: Search of sexual assault reports on Michigan campuses. Ashley, who says university officials were insensitive to her situation, was among 4, students in who reported sexual assaults on campuses nationwide, including on Michigan campuses.
Her case and others across the state have exposed a flawed and inconsistent system of on-campus justice for how Michigan's public universities respond to claims of sexual assault, with campuses taking widely differing approaches. Michigan State University, for example, requires staff to call police immediately upon receiving a report of a sexual assault, but the University of Michigan leaves the question of police involvement to the survivors.
Then there is the question of punishment. Someone charged with rape through the criminal justice system can face jail or prison time and a lifetime on a public sexual offender registry, while an accused student taken through the university administrative process may be ordered to write a word essay or, at worst, be expelled. Related: Victim opts out of process, calls campus efforts thin. The lack of a centralized policy reflects the lack of a consensus among experts — and survivors — about how best to address the rising wave of sexual assault and rape on campus. And federal regulations largely permit individual universities to determine how they handle the incidents, leading to a fragmented system critics say is often more concerned about protecting a school's reputation than the survivor.
In some cases, survivors say their assaults have been trivialized through the punishment handed out administratively, yet they fear being retraumatized when the police and courts become involved. In a few instances, alleged perpetrators say they're denied basic due process rights as a rush to judgment in ruined academic lives and reputations as they're quickly kicked off campus without ever being criminally charged or having their day in court.
In the world we are in, the criminal justice system doesn't produce justice for survivors," said Emily Kollaritsch, who graduated this year from Michigan State University and is a sexual assault survivor. Both sides of it need to be revamped. Related: Student kicked out of U-M says he was denied due process. The of these types of investigations has increased more than tenfold across the nation from to The Ladies looking sex Cedar River Michigan also has caught the attention of lawmakers and Michigan Gov.
Rick Snyder's wife. First lady Sue Snyder is convening a statewide summit on Monday of university sexual assault investigators, students, lawmakers and others.
They will gather in Lansing to develop a strategy for dealing with sexual assaults on campus. Related: Victim's mom upset with of U-M's investigation. She said she has met with at least 20 public university leaders as well as the he of the state's private and independent colleges, and they've all pledged to attend the Let's End Campus Sexual Assault Summit.
Not all are happy with the summit. Several survivors told the Free Press they had to fight to get invited to the event. Event organizers told the Free Press there is a waiting list of people who want to attend. Pleasant on most any Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, and the party scene will swirl around you. There are young college students, away from home for the first time. There are also students on the prowl.
And those who have survived a sexual assault point out alcohol and youthful hormones — both present in the party scene — aren't a valid excuse for rape. The vast majority of sexual assaults on college campuses involve people who know each other from class, dorms, or who have met at a party. And there are no real statistics on how many of the rapes involve date rape drugs. A societal tendency to blame survivors can make many rape victims hesitant to come forward.
That attitude — known as victim shaming — is a major reason why it's so hard to get an accurate read on how widespread sexual assaults are on college campuses. Many survivors worry they won't be believed because they were drinking, or because cases boil down to their word versus their attacker's word. When you hear of a year-old who's been at a party and flirting, you think she's not so innocent.
That's wrong. It's still rape. Experts believe sexual assaults on the nation's college campuses are vastly underreported. What is known is that the of cases actually reported each year — across the nation and in Michigan — is rising. In2, cases were reported across the nation on four-year public and private college campuses not including students off campusfederal data show. There were 98 sexual assaults reported on public and private campuses in Michigan in Experts and college administrators cheer the increase, saying it's proof students are more comfortable reporting attacks.
Along with the rising of reported assaults, there have been increased complaints about how the universities handle sexual assault investigations. Inthere were nine complaints from across the country filed with the federal Education Department's Office of Civil Rights. Inthere were Through April 8 this year, there have been 51 complaints filed. Federal law, through Title IX, mandates universities investigate sexual assault and harassment claims.
That law has been around since but was rarely enforced. However, lawsuits and policy decisions in recent years have ratcheted up the spotlight on how universities respond. In Aprilthe Education Department sent out a Dear Colleague letter to remind universities they needed to be investigating these cases. Michigan has no state law demanding the police be called when a sexual Ladies looking sex Cedar River Michigan is reported by a college student. Ashley — the Free Press agreed to use only her first name to protect her identity because of the nature of the incident — spent that day in late August on her phone, texting her friends, trying to figure out how she ended up passed out in a strange dorm room the night.
Still not feeling well, she headed into work, where she Googled date rape drugs on her phone. As popped up, she felt worse and worse. A supervisor noticed and asked what was wrong. Ashley said she had eaten some bad seafood and headed back to her dorm. On the advice of friends, she asked at the front desk for the building director and finally verbalized the fear that had been swirling in her head all day: She may have been raped.
As Ashley started telling her story, she got cut off — the staff member told her the police had to be called. Everyone was looking at me. It was overwhelming. It should have been a couple of officers in plainclothes.
Ashley told the police and administrators she met the male student for the first time the night at an off-campus party. He was flirtatious — she wasn't — and during the evening she lost a game of water pong to him and owed him a shot.
Ashley and some friends left the party together, heading first to Cedar Village apartments to drop one friend off and then back to a residence hall. The man tagged along. They went into a friend's room and the man left to get alcohol and returned with a bottle of gin. The man and his friend then went into a bathroom to shotgun a beer or two. They came back to the room with some vodka and four shots were poured — one for Ashley, one for her friend, one for the man and one for his friend.
That's about the last Ashley remembers for the night.
At least until she somewhat woke up, seeing the man standing above her. Shortly after Ashley's meeting with police, her assailant also met with investigators. He brought his attorney along. In the meeting, the man and his attorney asked questions about the process, but declined to answer questions about the night.
Nine days later, the male student's attorney sent MSU an e-mail to inform the school his client would not be cooperating with investigation. A month after that, the attorney e-mailed a copy of a privately conducted polygraph test to Michigan State. The polygraph included this statement: "The subject said Ashley slept with him, but nothing happened that evening.
When they woke in the morning, the subject stated they had sexual intercourse. He advised Ashley was conscious and actively participated in the sexual act. The subject denied providing any type of illegal drug to Ashley. The polygraph tester also asked the man if he had provided date rape drugs to Ashley and if Ashley was conscious when the two had sex. The answers? No and yes.Ladies looking sex Cedar River Michigan
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