Updated at 8:49 p.m.
Students at Swarthmore College have accused the school of failures in handling sexual assaults on campus.
They are charging the school violated the Clery Act by failing to report incidents on campus
Students also have decided to file a Title IX complaint with the federal government, saying the college’s inaction created a hostile environment.
One party to the complaint, Mia Ferguson, says she was assaulted during her freshman year. Ferguson went to two student resident advisers who, under the law, should have reported the incident. Ferguson later found out they did not submit a formal report.
She says – in her case – the federal Clery Act was not taken seriously.
“The law is something that we haven’t been focusing on but it’s also something that the administration knows about and has been explicitly disregarding and violating,” she alleges.
Hope Brinn, a sophomore from Delaware said she was stalked by another student. After things escalated, she reported him, but says administrators were unsupportive and declined to report the incident as sexual harassment.
“An administrator told me I needed to be as generous to him as possible at this time because neither she nor I could know what was going on in his life to make him do something like this,” Brinn said. “I appreciate that, but I don’t think that was the appropriate time to say that to me.”
“Sexual violence is totally unacceptable in our community,” said college president Rebecca Chopp in an emailed statement. “We will do everything in our power to prevent it, address it, and support its survivors.”
The college will be doing an extensive, independent external review of all issues around sexual misconduct. The review will be supported by an internal task force on sexual misconduct that will include students, faculty, staff, and board members.
“These allegations are extremely troubling to us,” Chopp said. “We are fully committed to working together as a community and to making any necessary changes.”