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And federal regulations largely permit individual universities to determine how they handle the incidents, leading to a fragmented system critics say is often more concerned about protecting a school's reputation than the survivor.In some cases, survivors say their assaults have been trivialized through the punishment handed out administratively, yet they fear being retraumatized when the police and courts become involved.
She said she has met with at least 20 public university leaders as well as the heads of the state's private and independent colleges, and they've all pledged to attend the Let's End Campus Sexual Assault Summit. Several survivors told the Free Press they had to fight to get invited to the event.Michigan State University, for example, requires staff to call police immediately upon receiving a report of a sexual assault, but the University of Michigan leaves the question of police involvement to the survivors. Someone charged with rape through the criminal justice system can face jail or prison time and a lifetime on a public sexual offender registry, while an accused student taken through the university administrative process may be ordered to write a 500-word essay or, at worst, be expelled.The lack of a centralized policy reflects the lack of a consensus among experts — and survivors — about how best to address the rising wave of sexual assault and rape on campus.That attitude — known as victim shaming — is a major reason why it's so hard to get an accurate read on how widespread sexual assaults are on college campuses.Many survivors worry they won't be believed because they were drinking, or because cases boil down to their word versus their attacker's word.