Rape is a touchy subject.
Rape is a crime so serious that the evidence has to be overwhelming enough to prove that the sex both occurred and wasn’t consensual.
Rape is a crime so serious that the suspect is often found guilty by the public long before a burden of proof has been established.
When one student accuses another of rape, the accuser can go to the university, the police, or both. A university should be notified if a student believes he or she has been raped. A university absolutely should not conduct investigations to decide if a rape did occur. Title IX requires schools to combat sexual discrimination in education, which means the University is required to investigate.
There are no resources that a university has that police will not have access to. Any evidence gathered by the university should be passed along to the police in order to aid the investigation. If the school were to jump to any conclusions, or allow evidence to be brought to the attention of the public, it could hurt both the victim and suspect.
If a university concludes, from its investigation, that a student is guilty of rape, but police conclude the opposite, where does the justice lie? The student can be expelled, and his or her future ruined, by an investigation that was contrary to the police investigation. To whom is this fair?
Furthermore, if a university concludes from an investigation that the suspect is not guilty, the school can come under fire from those who believe the victim.
It seems that in these circumstances, a university can only be shown in a positive light if the accused is guilty beyond doubt. All other roads lead to outrage. A university should only deal or withhold punishment based on the police’s decision. Any other outcome is a slap in the face to our justice system.
With that being said, a university should absolutely offer counseling and other accommodations to its students while an investigation is underway. A victim should not be forced to live in the same building or be in the same class as his or her accused.
A university exists to further the education and protect the safety of those who wish to better themselves, not to play detective and possibly ruin the futures of those it educates.