Letter from the Editor

Author: Cassidy McDonald


Our sexual assault policies deserve more scrutiny.

The Title IX process has emerged as one of the most common methods for reporting a sexual assault on campus. But Scholastic wanted to know: Is an administrative process an adequate way to manage incidents that are often also felony crimes — including rape, stalking and physical violence?

In our cover story, we explore the many ways advocates say the process needs to improve.

As journalists, we were most startled at the difficulty of accessing Title IX and Notre Dame Security Police records. Because the Title IX reporting process is not criminal and because Notre Dame is a private school, there is little publicly available data. We learned that Du Lac’s sexual assault policies do change from year to year, and it’s up to students to demand fair and transparent revisions that adequately protect victims.

The Observer editorial board recently called for more Clery Act email blasts to inform the student body after reported sexual assaults. Scholastic echoes their call for transparency, and we urge students to pay close attention to the data surrounding sexual assault — but in reporting, we learned these emails infringe on assault survivors’ privacy.

Instead, pay attention to assault survivors like senior Grace Watkins. She wants the university to adopt the biannual release of comprehensive, aggregate Title IX data, including the number of cases opened and total outcomes.

Read our cover story, and consider the way campus handles sexual assault. How do you think Title IX should change?