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College Campus Rape Statistics

Corey Yung

Corey Rayburn Yung is an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas School of Law. His scholarship primarily focuses on sexual violence, substantive criminal law, and judicial decision-making. Yung’s academic writings have been cited by state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. Before Yung began his professorial career, he served as an associate for Shearman & Sterling in New York and clerked for the Honorable Michael J. Melloy of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

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6 Responses

  1. AndyK says:

    If the data is worthless, what does the Penn State example teach us?

    I believe the most likely explanation is that the Clery Act stick isn’t feared as much as public opinion, and that PSU is simply making up numbers to appear to be scrupulous. I would imagine colleges aim to report numbers more-or-less in line with previous years, and might increase numbers when they want to appear contrite, and might lower numbers back to the norm afterwards.

  2. Corey Yung says:

    I think your explanation is entirely at odds with the Penn State example and the rest of the data as it currently stands. Appearing scrupulous would not require Penn State to report 60% more rapes than any other of the 11,000+ higher education institutions (and that certainly doesn’t help public opinion either). And almost 90% of schools would not report zero rapes which can only raise questions. Penn State’s incredible 2-year increase in reported rapes would also seem to draw more attention to prior reports.

    I’m not sure what the data teaches us, but the Penn State rate of rape is the only school with a rate of rape close to surveys of college students. The goals of my research are to find out what is really happening on college campuses regarding rape and can be done to decrease sexual violence there. In its present form, the Department of Education data isn’t going to serve either goal well.

  3. AndyK says:

    Why would PSU’s reporting change so significantly if the legal requirements remained the same, unless the legal requirements serve no real role here? And if they serve no real role, why do we trust the increase in PSU’s reporting?

    One thing we certainly can’t say is that public scrutiny of PSU forced PSU to begin to comply with the letter of the law, because whether or not they are complying is exactly the question you’re asking.

    At the very least, we need to admit the possibility of sham overreporting, given the incentive structure.

  4. Corey Yung says:

    Sham overreporting seems unlikely as a general matter because over 89% of schools reported 0 rapes in 2012. As for PSU, and other schools subject to heightened scrutiny, there is no reliable practical means of overreporting. A school would have to invent fictitious complaints, victims, alleged rapists, and files. A school subject to a Title IX investigation doesn’t just get to make a number and expect no diligence from the investigators. Overreporting would also tend to hurt schools being scrutinized because there would be no corresponding punishment or hearings for the fictitious cases (making the argument stronger that the school is not taking rape cases seriously).

    I’m more than willing to conclude that the Department of Education is worthless, but it seems virtually impossible to contend that it provides evidence of overreporting. My hope is simply that something can be salvaged from the Clery Act data because it provides the closest apples-to-apples context with data outside of college.

  5. prometheefeu says:

    Here is another hypothesis:
    Premise: The rate of conviction for non-forcible rape is abysmally low, lower even than that for forcible rape.

    Premise: Victims of non-forcible rape are much more likely to be blamed and attacked than victims of forcible rape.

    Conclusion: Victims may rationally choose not to report non-forcible rapes.

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