Title IX Cases Increase on Campus


Ellie Ward '26, Guest Writer

Reports of rape and sexual assault at Dickinson have increased in recent years, even during 2020 when many students were not on campus because of COVID-19 protocols. 

According to Dickinson’s  2021 Annual Security Report, which is required by the Clery Act, there were 10 cases of rape reported in 2018, 11 in 2019, and 14 in 2020. Administrators have claimed that increased reporting is the result of increased awareness on campus rather than an uptick in incidents.

Title IX coordinator, Kat Matic stated, “The safety and welfare of students and community members is our top priority. I believe that the increase in reporting is in part to greater awareness and prevention programming on how to report, get help and support services.”

In 2020 student protests broke out at Dickinson after Rose McAvoy ’20 shared the story of her sexual assault on campus in The Dickinsonian, slamming the way the college handled her case. After a tense period which saw students occupy the Holland Union Building for four days, the administration accepted 15 of the protestors’ 17 initial demands for reform to Title IX policy. 

McAvoy’s article may have encouraged other survivors to speak up, while reforms to the college’s Title IX process may have caused students to feel more secure about reporting their experiences.

Matic also said that “after an incident of sexual harassment is reported to the Title IX and Sexual Respect Office, we offer a plethora of support services to the survivor, including confidential medical care, counseling/psychological support, modifications for academics, housing, and employment. We stress to our campus community that no person has to make a formal report to access the help and support we offer.”

A current Dickinson student who is survivor of sexual assault spoke to The Dickinsonian and wished to remain anonymous. She said of the increase in reported assaults, “assault is not something new. It, unfortunately, happens too often, and I think people, women in particular, have had enough of sexual assault happening to them and their friends. I think the main cause for this increase is that the crimes are being committed, and people are hurt and tired.” When asked why she decided to report her assault, she explained that justice is a crucial aspect of her healing process.

Despite the increase in reports, only 1 sexual assault case went through the full investigation and hearing process during the 2020-21 school year. In that case, the college found sufficient evidence to find the accused student responsible for sexual assault. The student was suspended for the remainder of the year and received a stayed suspension through graduation.