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Nine out of 10 universities and colleges reported no campus rapes in 2015, according to an analysis of federal data released Wednesday by the American Assn. of University Women.
But the association sharply questioned whether the 11,000 U.S. colleges included in the analysis were doing enough to encourage victims to report sexual violence.
“If these numbers were accurate there’d be cause for celebration, but we know for a fact they’re not,” Lisa M. Maatz, the association's vice president of government relations and advocacy, said in a statement. “These numbers don’t reflect campus climate surveys and academic research, let alone what we’ve heard from students themselves."
Data on campus sexual violence vary widely. One 2006 study frequently cited by the Obama administration found that 19% of female college students have been sexually assaulted, while a 2014 Dept. of Justice study put the figure at less than 1%.
The university women's association analyzed 2015 campus crime data reported to the U.S. Dept. of Education under the federal Clery Act. Among California universities, UCLA reported 17 rapes, UC Berkeley 18, UC Irvine 19 and USC 11.
The analysis also found that about 9% of campuses reported at least one incident of domestic violence, about 10% reported dating violence and about 13% reported stalking.
“The data tell us that students don’t feel comfortable coming forward with their experiences,” Maatz said.
She said the numbers underscored the continued need for "robust enforcement" of Title IX, the ban on sex discrimination by schools receiving federal funds. The U.S. Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights stepped up enforcement of Title IX under the Obama administration, but it is unclear whether Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will continue to do so.