Student Group: USC Mishandles Sex Assault Reports

Student activists plan to talk Monday about a complaint, claiming the university mishandles sexual assaults

By Indigo Silva and Jason Kandel
|  Sunday, Jul 21, 2013  |  Updated 2:38 PM PDT
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Student Group: USC Mishandles Rape Reports

An activist group, the Student Coalition Against Rape, was expected to hold a press conference on Monday, July 22, 2013 to talk about an investigation into the handling of sex assault cases by USC. In this photo, a college security truck can be seen patrolling the campus.

Students at USC are expected on Monday to discuss a civil rights complaint alleging the college mishandles sexual misconduct reports.

Activists for the Student Coalition Against Rape filed a complaint with the federal Department of Education, claiming the university does an inadequate job investigating sexual assaults.

Details about the investigation were to be released at a news conference Monday outside the school's gates on Jefferson Boulevard.

USC spokesman Carl Marziala said he was not aware of the reported federal probe, but said a previous USC Division of Student Affairs statement on the issue addresses the complaint.

"USC takes all reports of sexual violence extremely seriously and had many resources available to assist students who experience unwanted sexual contact ..." the statement said.

The school stated that "in all reported cases, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate disciplinary, as well as interim remedial, action."

But the USC statement warned "the university's disciplinary process cannot and does not take the place of the judicial system. Any student victim of a crime has the option of reporting it to the Los Angeles Police Department."

In May, women's-rights attorney Gloria Allred said federal complaints have been filed against USC and three other U.S. colleges over how the colleges handle rape allegations.

Allred joined students from the colleges at a New York City news conference in May to announce the filing of complaints against Swarthmore College, Dartmouth College, the University of Southern California and the University of California at Berkeley.

She said some of the complaints were Title IX complaints alleging a hostile environment for women. Other complaints charged the colleges with violating the federal Clery Act, which requires accurate reporting of campus crimes.

Complaints were filed earlier against Occidental College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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