NEW Letter to the Editor Graphic

The Journal-World recently reported that on-campus rapes doubled in 2017 from 2016, with three-fourths in campus housing; as worrisome is that the University of Kansas' Public Safety Office reported awareness of a much lower number of on-campus rape complaints. That suggests that perhaps eight possible rapes avoided criminal investigation, and presumably KU’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access handled those complaints.

I write from the perspective of a father of two University female graduates, one of whom was friends with a Kansas State University student who sadly was murdered in an attempted rape, and having a victim of date rape in the family. No doubt the IOA is dedicated and competent, but victims should be aware that KU PSO and the District Attorney have significant additional resources and capabilities, such as subpoena power, checking for prior criminal charges, executing search warrants including social media sites, obtaining DNA, or compelling testimony. Most importantly, IOA’s strongest available punishment is expulsion from the University, leaving a presumed rapist “out on the streets,” just not enrolled at KU. And in such a case, the assailant wouldn’t have a criminal record or DNA or fingerprints stored, which could impede an arrest in event of a subsequent criminal act.

KU PSO staff undergoes the same training as other law enforcement officers and has staff trained to handle the trauma of sexual violence and assist victims in receiving counseling. PSO cases do involve higher standards for a finding of guilt because they are criminal rather than administrative proceedings, but as mentioned they have greater investigative resources to obtain a conviction. And the District Attorney’s office has female staff focused on prosecuting sexual violence. University students who are victims of sexual violence should be aware of the differences between the resources available to punish assailants.