Hundreds of college students have been shaken and confused about how to report a sexual assault. When they do report it — and many of them don’t — the process for getting justice can be just as troubling as the crime itself, reports the Detroit Free Press. In Michigan, the responsibility for trying to figure out whether the allegations are true falls on fewer than 50 investigators spread out across the state’s 15 public universities. Many are lawyers with experience in employment law matters; others are higher education administrators or professors, but none is a seasoned sex crimes investigator.
Many cases have exposed a flaws and inconsistent system of campus justice for responding to claims of sexual assault, with campuses taking widely differing approaches. Victims and the accused are often left hanging. “These offices are not equipped for this significant of an investigation,” said attorney Deb Gordon, who has represented clients in sexual assault investigations at Michigan universities. “You have both sides (the accuser and the accused) who at the end of the day aren’t happy with how the investigation is run.” Their fates — both their academic careers and their lives moving forward — are in the hands of a staff member who is tasked with figuring out what exactly happened. That means three Michigan State football players accused of sexual assault and the alleged victim are waiting for an investigator to figure out whether the accusation is true.