Content warning—This project contains graphic content that may be triggering for some readers.
On May 1, 2014, the list of 55 was released. The list is extensive, with no room for interpretation. Temple was among the original schools listed.
The U.S. Department of Education released the names of 55 universities under investigation for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and misconduct, and Temple was one of them. The list has since grown to include 175 institutions.
The university’s inclusion on this list had to come from complaints—complaints that tipped the proverbial dominoes that would topple Temple onto the list of non-compliant schools when it came to sexual violence. Under federal law, this includes physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. This means rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse and sexual coercion.
Today, there are three known Title IX complaints filed against Temple.
This issue is widespread among universities across the country, showing no trends to why one school is on the list, and another is not. The students we’ve spoken to and the Climate Survey from the president’s task force showed us a majority of students aren’t familiar with Temple’s formal reporting procedures. There’s uncertainty about Temple’s resources and how to use them. This project is a comprehensive answer to those questions.
Staff members and reporters interviewed students, faculty, staff, nurses, survivor advocates, survivors, administrators and Temple Police to try to understand the process of reporting and how survivors can seek help. In more than a dozen interviews, countless hours with survivors and nearly five months of reporting, we now understand how the university addresses sexual violence, specifically sexual assault, among students, faculty and staff. “100 miles of unpaved road” outlines the system in place for survivors to get support, and the personal experiences of those who have been a part of that process.
“100 miles of unpaved road” was a phrase told to us from one of those people, a rape advocate. She described a survivor she met years ago as such, as a woman who had endured something traumatic, with a road to recovery ahead of her. But this “unpaved road” can mean much more than just how a survivor feels in the moments following an assault. This project outlines the system in place for survivors to get support—a road that is progressing, with work that still needs to be done.
In that five months of reporting, The Temple News found:
- There are currently three Title IX complaints filed through the Office for Civil Rights that are in ongoing investigations. One of these complaints was given to The Temple News from the complainant.
- The university has the proper institutions in place to support survivors and provide education to students about consent, sexual misconduct and sexual violence, however many—if not all—of these offices are underfunded and understaffed, administrators say.
- During the 2014-15 academic year, 20 students were expelled or suspended from the university. Of those, five were expelled because of violations of Temple’s sexual assault policy. In 2014, there were nine reported cases of sexual assault.
- The system in place, described by multiple administrators as “points of entry” into the system of reporting and support, can be confusing for someone in crisis, survivors say; some have suggested a more centralized approach.
We have heard the stories of four survivors, whose experiences will appear throughout this project. Their stories are powerful—but they’re not the only ones. Their voices speak to their own experiences, and not the experiences of all survivors at Temple, or on any university campus. To read detailed accounts of two of these survivors’ stories, click here. These stories include details that may be triggering for some readers.