STORY BY SARAH GROSSMAN
On Oct. 16, President David Maxwell sent out an email to the Drake University community informing students and faculty that the university’s handling of a sexual assault case is under review.
“First of all, it’s a case. Beyond that, I can’t say anything. We are cooperating fully with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to do everything we can for this investigation,” Maxwell said.
Drake is currently one of 85 schools under federal investigation for their handling of sexual assault cases, according to the Huffington Post.
Typically, these investigations end with a university’s compliance to refocus on sexual assault and gender-based violence. If not, it is possible for a school to lose federal funding. However, this has never happened.
Drake, in recent years, has introduced various programs to aid and educate students about sexual assault. The Violence Intervention Partner (VIP) support service is a phone service available 24 hours a day and is run by students. Students explain to victims their legal options and provide emotional support after an assault occurs. Drake has its own coordinator for sexual violence response and healthy relationship promotion, Alysa Mozak.
Mozak was restricted from commenting on the case.
According to Scott Law, director of Campus Public Safety, there are processes in place for sexual assault cases.
“Students have a right to make an anonymous report. They can make a report through Alysa Mozak or through the dean of students. They can walk into Public Safety or the Des Moines Police office,” Law said.
At this point in time, Public Safety has only received one report of sexual assault this year. The dean of students received five complaints for the 2013-2014 academic year.
Josh Mascharka, a junior rhetoric and study of culture and society double major, believes Drake is not drawing enough attention to sexual assaults.
“(Reports) are not talked about. You don’t hear about it,” Mascharka said.
Although Drake is facing investigation and these concerns exist, Maxwell holds firm that sexual assault is not tolerated at Drake.
“We will do all we can to support victims in those awful times it does happen,” Maxwell said. “If and when it happens, we will do our best to respond in a way consistent with our policies in place.”