Sexual assault gained attention on the campus in the summer of 2013 when four former Vanderbilt football players were indicted on rape charges. University officials had discovered surveillance video showing the men carrying an unconscious female student into a residence hall and referred the case to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.
In November 2013, a group of students and recent alumni filed federal Title IX and Clery Act complaints against the university, alleging that it had responded inadequately to reports of sexual assault.
Vanderbilt was one of the initial 55 colleges under investigation in this wave of federal enforcement as announced by the Education Department in May 2014.
One student who filed a federal complaint against the institution has spoken publicly about her experience. She later called Title IX enforcement “a horribly broken process that needs to be re-evaluated” and said she didn’t see “these complaints making the changes that we want.”
The institution has affirmed its commitment to victims of sexual assault, collected resources online, opened a Project Safe Center, expanded prevention programs, and conducted a climate survey.
The climate survey, which used two different instruments, found that in the spring of 2015, 20 percent of undergraduates had experienced at least one sexual assault ("unwanted incidents of being fondled, kissed, or rubbed up against, attempted sexual penetration, sexual penetration, attempted oral sex, and oral sex") since the beginning of that academic year. A campus task force issued several recommendations in response to the findings, including that the university provide more training for faculty and staff members; increase programs and awareness campaigns, in particular for students who have experienced sexual misconduct prior to attending Vanderbilt; and conduct a climate survey every two or three years.
A group of current and former female Vanderbilt University students filed a complaint with federal officials Thursday charging that the university responded inadequately to reports of sexual assault. Organized
A group of six students filed federal Title IX and Clery Act complaints against Vanderbilt University Thursday for the alleged "mishandling of sexual assaults," according to senior Sarah Beth O'Brien, one of the students who filed the complaints.