Title IX and Criminal Law on Campus: Against Mandatory Police Involvement in Campus Sexual Assault Cases
This Note argues that policy proposals mandating law enforcement involvement in campus sexual assault cases are harmful to survivors of sexual assault and are inconsistent with Title IX. Title IX’s gender-equality goals require schools to address sexual assault as a civil rights issue, with a focus on its impact on survivors’ continued access to education. Mandatory police involvement proposals will frustrate that goal. These proposals take a criminal law view rather than a civil rights approach, and in doing so, import obstacles that survivors have long faced in the criminal system into the campus process. What is more, these proposals will have the effect of making it more difficult for survivors, particularly those from marginalized communities, to report their sexual assaults to their schools. If survivors are not able to report, they will not be able to access the accommodations they need to continue their education, and schools will not have the information they need to adequately combat sexual assault on campus. Efforts at reform would be better served by focusing on improving the campus process than on limiting survivors’ options.