Prospective College Students: Ask About Sexual Assault Before You Commit To Attending

Prospective College Students: Ask About Sexual Assault Before You Commit To Attending

When students and their parents are looking at colleges there are many different elements to consider. The most obvious include the price of tuition, average SAT scores, location, and Apps to survive college. provide ratings for factors that students find crucial to their college experience such as nightlight, student attractiveness, and food. Once the decision is made, visions of college parties and hook-ups dance in their minds. What students may not think to consider, however, is the incidents of sexual assault and rape on their campus.


Most colleges do not publicize the rate of sexual assault on their campus, and why would they  If they did they could lose prospective students, prestige, and, most importantly, money. Even when colleges do address the subject, the statistics reported are oftentimes much lower than the rate of actual incidents. Several prestigious universities, including Harvard, UC Berkeley, Florida State University, Vanderbilt, and Dartmouth, were named in a federal investigation into the way sexual assault cases are handled on campus. Victims of sexual assault frequently do not report the incident because of feelings of guilt and embarrassment; in some cases, victims may not be sure whether to call it assault when alcohol and drugs are involved.


Schools facing sexual assault investigations (

Schools facing sexual assault investigations (



An ad sponsored by UltraViolet that appears in student’s searches on the internet. (

UltraViolet — an advocacy organization that spreads awareness of sexual assault cases on college campuses and promotes greater student safety from assault and rape — recently launched a series of online ads illustrating issues of rape at several institutions of higher learning.  These online ads appear in search results when prospective students are at venues close to the “rape problem” campuses and when they search for these problem schools on Facebook or via other search engines like Google.


Alongside these advertisements, UltraViolet is also putting pressure on The Princeton Review to include sexual assault statistics in their college reviews and rankings. The Princeton Review is an essential tool for parents and students during the college planning process. It provides information about almost every facet of a school, but it does not address sexual assault. UltraViolet has also launched an online petition to apply more pressure on The Princeton Review to include sexual assault rankings in their review.  UltraViolet believes that spreading knowledge about the way rape cases are mishandled, will help students to make well-informed decisions regarding schools.


Some colleges and universities across the United States, are finding better ways for sexual assault victims to share their stories. In some instances, there are events for students that encourage conversation and openness about sexual assault. These events create better transparency around the issue, and may strong-arm colleges to take better steps to prevent sexual assault cases on campuses.


What do you think about UltraViolet and sexual assault on college campuses? Let me know in the comments below or find me on Twitter @whatsthesich


Carolyn Ambrosich

Carolyn Ambrosich attends Fordham University in New York City, where she is majoring in psychology and is a member of the rugby team. She was born in Texas, but raised in Colorado and Maryland. Carolyn suffers from wanderlust and is always looking for adventure. She loves cats, meeting new people, music, and relaxing with friends. Follow her on Twitter @whatsthesich


  • AGS/Glen04. Jun, 2014

    Although I appreciate the recent attention to this serious problem, I believe this approach will cause an increased effort to hide cases of assault/rape/attempted rape on campuses. When I approached my university’s legal counsel regarding an attempted assault/breaking an entering, I was told that I could go through the university review system but would have to represent myself, and could not use legal help during the proceeding. I was also told the perpetrator had already been before the student review board twice for the same behavior and “neither of the previous plaintiffs were able to make their case”. Further, I was never advised that breaking and entering/attempted assault were clearly criminal offenses that warranted my going to law enforcement. Another gal, who was assaulted, and went before the review board, got to watch the guy that raped her walk around campus, because he only had a specific restraining order.

    Do we seriously believe that this “investigation” will get universities to be more forth-coming? I doubt it. The university community is incapable of thinking in a logical manner. What legal counsel in their right mind would suggest it wasn’t useful for a victim to consider reporting it to the police, or seeking other legal advice? The only useful approach is to legally obligate all universities that should a student disclose information to them it automatically result in notification to law enforcement – it could be anonymous, if the student in question didn’t want to bring it up.

    This “investigation” is half-hearted at best. The Princeton Review reporting statistics? C’mon. What we want isn’t some warning system. What we want is for ALL universities to be required to provide the necessary aid to victims.

    • Carolyn Ambrosich07. Jun, 2014

      I wondered about the effectiveness of this movement as well. I agree that it may just cause universities to be more hush hush about sexual assault on their campus, because they are too worried about their reputation. And I agree with your point that all universities need to provide necessary aid to victims.

      What I do think is good about these campaigns, is that they may make students more aware of the higher risk of sexual assault on college campuses. I also think that organizations like Ultra Violet calling out these universities may go a long way in making these universities more accountable for their actions.

      What needs to happen is a centralized way for students to report sexual assault and a more open conversation about these incidents. If a greater number of students were to come together over these issues we may see some serious change regarding how universities deal with these cases.

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