Baylor rape victims say the university told women who attempted to report their assaults that their parents would be informed of their alcohol or drug use under the student conduct code and in some circumstances were themselves charged with code violations, according to the Associated Press.
Baylor’s student code banned dancing until 1996 and only last year removed “fornication,” “adultery,” and “homosexual acts” from its official list of misconduct. Victims say Baylor even punished women who tried to report assaults that happened to other victims:
One woman said her case began when she called police to report a physical assault on another woman at an off-campus party. Police demanded to know if she was underage and had been drinking, then arrested and reported her to the school office that investigates conduct code violations, she said. She told Baylor officials her drinking was a result of being raped a month earlier and detailed what happened in person and in a letter.
She received an alcohol code violation and told to do 25 hours community service, and when she tried to appeal, the woman said Baylor officials urged her to drop it. The school never pursued her rape claim.
“I was told by many Baylor staff that they couldn’t do anything for me because my assault was off campus, yet they had no problem punishing me for my off-campus drinking,” the woman said.
Universities are required by federal law to investigate sexual assaults, whether they happen on- or off-campus, and feds informed Baylor in 2011 that its conduct policy may have a chilling effect on sexual assault reporting. Being caught drinking alcohol is cause for expulsion under Baylor’s student conduct policy.
Pepper Hamilton’s report cited the policy as “creating barriers” to victims reporting their assaults, due both to fears of being punished and those of parental informing.