More than two years ago, the American Psychological Association published guidelines that called for colleges to require students to report suspected sexual misconduct and harassment to the university.
The guidelines, released in May 2016, were criticized by activists for being too vague.
They urged colleges to be more specific in how they would handle sexual assault cases and to give students more guidance on how to handle their own investigations and disciplinary actions.
But a new report from the advocacy group Equal Justice Under Law shows that colleges and universities haven’t followed through.
The new report, “Academic and Academic Counseling Guidelines: How Colleges Are Not Doing Their Part,” found that colleges are not using the guidelines as a blueprint for how to manage sexual assault and harassment complaints.
The report also highlighted several troubling practices in colleges and found that many colleges were not complying with the guidelines, including not providing students with access to information and resources that might help them understand how colleges handle sexual misconduct cases.
The recommendations came as a surprise to the group, which found that more than a quarter of colleges are still using outdated guidance and practices that have not been rigorously evaluated by experts.
The group also found that the guidance has not been reviewed by the Office for Civil Rights, the Department of Education or other federal agencies.
While some colleges and university leaders say they have been making changes to their policies to comply with the recommendations, the report found that a lack of transparency around how colleges are handling sexual misconduct complaints has left students with little recourse and led to a “dangerous gap” in protection.
The authors of the report, former University of Chicago law professor Lisa Bloom and University of Pennsylvania law professor Anne Schuchat, say colleges have been “unnecessarily lax” in protecting students from sexual assault allegations.
The APA’s new report found more than 2,000 colleges and schools have yet to adopt the guidance, and many colleges are failing to report sexual misconduct allegations and mishandling cases of sexual assault.
The majority of colleges have not implemented the guidelines because they do not consider the issue a serious problem, according to the report.
In some cases, colleges have also failed to investigate complaints in cases where they were aware that the complaint could be resolved in the way they see fit.
The schools included in the report include those in Texas, Arizona, Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Illinois, North Carolina, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming and West Virginia State University.
While schools have made significant changes to the way their campuses handle sexual harassment complaints, they have not followed through on their guidance, said Dr. Michael Weinstein, a former dean at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of “Sex, Power and the American Law School: The Culture of Victimization.”
He said colleges are often reluctant to report incidents that could be considered harassment, citing the lack of clear guidance on sexual harassment and sexual assault as a major obstacle.
“There’s not much guidance on what the consequences of failing to take sexual harassment seriously are, and students are left to figure it out for themselves,” Weinstein said.
He said students can report the allegations to the campus Sexual Assault Response Team, which is run by the University, the university’s student newspaper, the Daily Texan, and other media outlets.
The school has also taken steps to improve the way it responds to sexual misconduct, including hiring more campus-wide sexual violence prevention coordinators.
But the guidance doesn’t address how schools should deal with their own students who report sexual assault, said Jessica Valenti, a law professor at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.
“They’re not making the right kind of decisions in the schools they run,” Valenti said.
“The problem is that they’re not taking students seriously.”
“It’s so easy to get caught up in the panic, and that’s where you get into a spiral,” she said.
The U.S. Department of Justice released a statement saying it was “deeply troubled” by the report’s findings, and the department “will be reviewing the report and taking appropriate action.”
The department said it “has received a number of complaints” about colleges failing to follow the guidance.
The Justice Department also said colleges must “ensure that students are adequately protected against the negative effects of sexual harassment, including the negative consequences of false allegations.”
In an email, the U.K. Department for Education said the department’s sexual violence and misconduct unit would review the findings and provide “strong recommendations” in the next few months.
“While the Department takes every measure to ensure compliance with the guidance and our Code of Practice, we are also mindful that there is still much work to be done in this area, including on the implementation of the guidelines and other recommendations made in the guidance,” the department said.
Many colleges, including Yale, Duke and University at Buffalo, have made changes in response to the new