All too often we’ve seen cases of universities demanding that they be allowed to handle reports of rape and sexual assault as they see fit under Title IX, sometimes resulting in accused students not being given access to legal counsel and effectively being convicted of serious crimes without ever having their day in court. But at the University of Maryland’s Baltimore County campus, the opposite, but equally damaging situation has allegedly taken place. Students there have filed a federal lawsuit and staged protests over claims that multiple female co-eds were raped on campus and the school covered up the incidents to protect their athletes. (CBS Baltimore)
The President of UMBC is apologizing, saying the school needs to do more in the wake of explosive allegations.
Two college students are claiming they reported rapes, only to have the cases covered up by University and county leaders in Baltimore County.
From the center of campus Monday, University of Maryland Baltimore County students shouted a message intended to reach the school’s top offices, on the heels of a federal lawsuit.
The UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski met with students for more than an hour, which was captured by the Baltimore Sun.
Since we don’t have a proper resolution from the courts, it’s impossible to judge these claims on their merits, but the accusations sound damning. Plus, the fact that the administration of the university is already apologizing for “not doing a good enough job” makes it sound as if they know they’ve screwed this up majorly.
One freshman reported “a violent dorm room rape” in September of 2015. A report was made to campus police and a rape kit was collected. But the campus police described the circumstances of the alleged assault as “suspicious” and dropped the case, with the rape kit somehow being destroyed a month later. Last October, another female student at Towson reported having been “repeatedly raped by three UMBC baseball players.” In that instance, the report even went to the county police, but the case was dropped within 24 hours after consultation with university officials.
What is going on at UMBC? And more to the point, we’re once again left to wonder why the administration at a university is involved in any way with the handling of reports of violent crimes. When one of your students tells you they’ve been raped, whether your amateur opinion tells you it’s a valid complaint or not, you call the police. You make sure they file a complete report, collect a rape kit and support your students by following up and seeing that a proper investigation is done. If the accused boys are viable suspects, they belong on trial in a court of law, not some campus kangaroo court.
How does this continue to go on at so many colleges and universities? Title IX was never meant to substitute the judgment of the school administration or student body for that of law enforcement and the courts. UMBC clearly needs to be held accountable in these specific cases, but in the broader sense, universities should be charged with a crime if they fail to keep their students safe by trying to handle such law enforcement matters themselves.