Winner 2010

Seeking Justice for Campus Rapes


Following up on U.S. Justice Department-funded research that estimated that one in five college women will become victims of sexual assault during their campus years, National Public Radio’s investigative unit teamed up with the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) to study the failure of schools to prevent such assaults and how they deal with the aftermath. The reporters found that most colleges are lax about pursuing sexual assault complaints and that, even when men at those schools are found responsible, fewer than 25 percent of them are expelled. In a worst-case scenario, a Michigan school was caught attempting to pass off a student’s rape and murder as a death by natural causes. The reporting team also found that most collegiate judicial systems are inadequate to handle what would be serious felony cases off-campus and that the Justice Department, despite having the legal tools, has only fined universities six times in two decades for mishandling or failing to report campus rapes. First-person interviews with victims re-traumatized when they stepped forward to report sexual assaults add a powerful human dimension to the statistical reporting in Seeking Justice for Campus Rapes, which receives a Peabody Award for bringing an intolerable campus epidemic to public awareness.


NPR correspondent: Joseph Shapiro. CPI reporter: Kristen Lombardi, Kristin Jones. NPR computer-assisted reporting: Robert Benincasa. CPI data editor: David Donald. NPR editor: Susanne Reber. CPI editor: Gordon Witkin. NPR digital producer: Kathleen Masterson. NPR design: Alyson Hurt.