The Department of Education currently is investigating a number of colleges for how they have handled sex offense reports, including Yale University, Ohio State University and Notre Dame.
The department began looking into the pre-eminent Catholic university in November following a Tribune story about a student who killed herself shortly after telling campus police that a male student there sexually attacked her. By their very nature, campus sex crimes are difficult cases to investigate and prosecute.
"It's something that needs to be changed, but it's not an easy fix." Society compounds the problem with antiquated views about what constitutes a sex crime and who commits it, experts said.
At Illinois State University, police handled 20 reported sex offenses, but the victims in slightly less than half of those cases declined to press charges, records show.
Rather than endure police investigations, some students have pursued the matters with their universities' administrations.
Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights in the U. Department of Education, said the Tribune's findings are in keeping with anecdotal evidence her office has gathered from victims."I say this, albeit, with a very heavy and saddened heart," Ali said.
"These kinds of data are illustrative of the disturbing and alarming trend we are seeing across this country."For its survey, the Tribune selected public and private colleges with varying student enrollments in Illinois and Indiana.
"What's the point in going to police if they don't do anything about it?