Campuses Hire Outsiders To Investigate Sexual Assault, But Is It Enough?


As colleges scramble under federal pressure to overhaul how they handle cases of sexual assault, the list of schools under investigation for botching cases grows. NPR reports that a growing number of campuses, rather than training their provosts and professors to act like prosecutors, are outsourcing the job to real ones instead. Djuna Perkins is a former prosecutor who is now an investigator-for-hire focusing on sexual assault. Her office near Boston is lined with pennants from a growing list of schools that are her clients: Amherst, Brandeis, Bentley, Harvard, Tufts, Williams, Emerson and more. Hiring an outside professional like Perkins can help colleges address questions of bias

Law Prof. John Banzhaf of George Washington University says schools who use their own staff to decide cases always will be suspect. It’s only slightly better when cases are decided by outside investigators hired by schools. An even better idea, Banzhaf says, would be to create an independent consortium of professionals to investigate and judge cases. Then “there can be no thought that favoritism is being given because someone is a big athlete or that daddy’s a big donor, and the standards will be the same across the board.” he says. “To me it’s a win-win-win for everybody.” Or campus sex cases could be handled by courts. He’s one of many who question why schools are the ones investigating these crimes in the first place.

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