In January 2016, the Justice and Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative at the Wellesley Centers for Women began a study funded by the National Institute of Justice to better understand how colleges and universities handle the investigation, adjudication, and sanctioning of sexual assaults. In this final report, the research team reviews their findings and implications for the research.
The research team gathered data from a national sample of 969 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. They then interviewed Title IX coordinators and other key informants from 47 institutions. The team identified a wide variety of individual approaches and programs at these many institutions, which address the challenges of responding to sexual assault in different ways.
In the report, they wrote, "We found that there is no one model associated with [institutes of higher education] of a certain size, geographic location, or sector (public, private or religiously affiliated). Instead we found extreme variation in the information made available to the public (and to the students) on the [college and university] websites and in the approaches to investigation and adjudication described by the Title IX coordinators interviewed."