August 5th, 2014 | University

Sexual misconduct report shows rise in reported assaults

Sixty-four complaints of sexual misconduct were brought to the University’s attention between January 1 and June 30, according to the sixth publication of the biannual Report of Complaints of Sexual Misconduct.

Six fewer complaints were reported during the first half of 2014 than were reported during the latter half of 2013, though there were 29 complaints of sexual assault during the half-year reporting period — a substantial increase from the four to 14 complaints documented in previous biannual reports. In her introduction to the report, University Title IX Coordinator Stephanie Spangler reiterated that while it is possible that the larger number of reported assaults, defined broadly by the University as “any kind of nonconsensual sexual activity,” may be due to a higher incidence rate, it alternatively could be that students are more willing to report or seek help from the administration.

“It is impossible to conclude whether this number reflects changes in the prevalence or in the reporting of sexual assault… Regardless of the reasons for the increase in these complaints, we are encouraged that individuals are bringing them to the University’s attention and utilizing the University’s resources and review processes to address them,” Spangler wrote.

Eighteen cases introduced in the report are currently designated as “pending.” While some of the descriptions for these cases indicate that either one of both of the complainants could not be reached, Spangler wrote in the introduction that many cases were filed toward the end of the reporting period, meaning that there was not enough time for them to be investigated and resolved before the publication of the report. The “pending” cases will be included the next biannual report for the second half of the year with up-to-date information, just as the seven pending cases from the previous report were updated in the most recent report.

Spangler emphasized that the University is prioritizing transparency and campus understanding of issues related to sexual misconduct, pointing to the addition of hyperlinks to related key terms and definitions in the previous biannual report and the creation of a new guide compiling “information about the University’s resources, complaint procedures, and prevention programs.”

Punishments reported for Yale College respondents include two suspensions and two expulsions.