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Why Campus Rape Should Impact Where You Apply

Twenty-Eight out of the Top 30 "Best Universities" in U.S. News & World Report's 2015 rankings are under federal investigation for their handling of sexual assault - yes, even the Ivies.

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High school seniors around the country are freaking out over the college application process.

U.S. News & World Report's highly anticipated university rankings have finally been released, and many of the traditionally sought after schools have remained at the top.

It goes unsaid that these rankings are not holistic, and that many high school students will take much more into account--and spend sleepless nights writing essays--before they decide on a school.

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28 of U.S. News & World Report's top 30 national universities, and 11 of the the top 30 of liberal arts colleges are under federal investigation for mishandling cases of sexual assault.

Seventy-six colleges are currently under investigation (or have been in the past 5 years) by the Department of Education for how they deal with campus sexual assault.

Almost weekly, more and more schools are coming under fire for how they deal with campus sexual violence – and students are doing whatever it takes for their voices to be heard by administrators.

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So if you are applying to college, these students want you to take campus rape into account before you apply.

Students at Columbia University are greeting first years with a different type of orientation.

Detailed in their Disorientation Guide, various student groups, including No Red Tape (a group behind a federal investigation into Columbia), are seeking to prepare students with the knowledge of Columbia's rape problem – and how they can hold their school (and administrators) accountable.

The guide comes at the heels of a wave of controversy that hit the prestigious university earlier this year. During the spring semester of 2014, survivors began posting the names of their assailants on bathroom stalls to warn other students, after they say Columbia would not expel students who were found responsible for committing sexual assault.

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University of Kansas: #aGreatPlaceToBeUnsafe

After one survivor's story of being told that community service was "too punitive" for her assailant made headlines, the group of over 50 KU students, which includes the student body president, is urging high school applicants not to pick KU as their choice school.

View this video on YouTube

"KU is not a safe place for students and no high school seniors should enroll here until it is," they say.

They want their school to toughen punishments for students found responsible for rape- oh, and to STOP referring to rape as "nonconsensual sex."

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Dartmouth College: “Only 3 rapists expelled in 10 years”

View this video on YouTube

Real Talk Dartmouth / Via youtube.com

Columbia isn't the only Ivy League institution where students are warning about campus safety.

Before filing a complaint in May of 2013, Dartmouth College students protested the admitted students weekend with a strong message: "Dartmouth has a problem."

As the video shows, students are Dartmouth expressed not only a hostile climate of sexual violence, but also one entrenched in racism and homophobia - making many students' college experience anything but what they imagined.

In protesting they urged prospective students to consider every "dimension" of their college choices.

"Our goal is to not scare prospective students away, rather to give a holistic and realistic perspective to counterbalance the flawed advertising," said the group.

Many schools have "revamped" their policies after students have demanded change.

After nine students at The University of California, Berkeley filed a federal complaint in May 2013, things did seem to start changing.

But....Eight months later, they filed another complaint, updating the original and adding 22 more survivors.

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While the 2015 rankings will be attracting thousands of prospective students' interests, many schools are already feeling the effects of controversy.

Last application season, Dartmouth reported a 14% drop in applications, while Amherst College, also struck with a federal complaint for their mishandling of sexual assault, saw a 7.5% drop of applicants for their 2017 class.

The Los Angeles Times reports that these rankings may reflect the greater scrutiny that students are placing on campus safety. Even though the myth of low campus crime numbers indicating safety has been consistently debunked, competitive students are being much more critical of universities coming under fire.

To find out if your dream school is under investigation, before you apply, check the Department of Education's updated list of schools under investigation.
(Yes, that includes Harvard, Brown, Princeton, UNC Chapel Hill, and UVa!)

And for a list of completed investigations, check here.
(Looking at you, Yale, Georgetown, Wake Forest, listed among many others!)

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