Student Activists Keep Pressure On Campus Sexual Assault

by JENNIFER LUDDEN

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For Georgetown University freshmen, orientation this week included a new activity: mandatory small-group discussions on sexual assault.

“For a lot of the kids, this might be the first time they ever actually talk about sexual assault or what consent means in an environment with their peers,” says Chandini Jha, a junior who helped lead several discussions and who’s been pushing administrators to do this for two years.

Georgetown is not among the more than 70 colleges being investigated for how they’ve handled sexual assault cases; in fact, it’s ahead of many others on the issue. But Jha says the problem is a national epidemic. About 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted in college, as are some men, and Jha has become active beyond her own campus. Last winter Jha joined a group that uses social media to spread the word that schools are bound to try to protect students from sexual assault under a federal law called Title IX.

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