It seems like the % of sex crimes (rape, statutory rape, etc.) are way higher at ivy league schools / schools with a low admission rate compared to other schools. Other crimes like assault and robbery are higher at schools with a higher admission rate.


Why is this?

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    I can't find it now, but I'm quite certain I once saw a question around here similarly asking about why cases of sexual misconduct occur so frequently in North American universities compared to some other places, and one of the answers pointed out that whether the university is rather a large campus with little daily contact to the outside world, or a set of buildings spread across a city, largely contributes to the perception whether certain cases of misconduct happened "at the university" or "somewhere in the city". Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 19:59
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    @O.R.Mapper Also, in my experience, Americans tend to be much more aware of these things than others, particularly Europeans. As an American living in central Europe, I witnessed what I would have considered sexual assault on a regular basis that was silently accepted.
    – Jeff
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 20:40
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    @JeffL. It's not necessarily awarness: personal boundaries vary a lot across countries, whether it refers to private life, workplace behaviour or sexual behaviour. Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 20:55
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    @JeffL. I don't think that rape and robbery are silently accepted in Europe. But sexual assault as using a position to put pressure to subordinates, this could be more prominent in Europe, and dependent on culture, personal boundaries etc.
    – BioGeo
    Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 10:32

1 Answer 1


Via NBC, these numbers may reflect higher levels of reporting, rather than more crime:

Experts do not think the reason is because more sex crimes are actually occurring on Ivy campuses.

"I think higher numbers of students reporting sexual offenses suggests there is a process in place that students feel comfortable going to," said Suzanne Goldberg, a Columbia law professor who helped write the university's policy on gender based misconduct.

Goldberg says recording more sex complaints is not necessarily a bad thing.

"I think actually all the data suggests that sexual violence including rape, including sexual harassment, including sexual exploitation and domestic violence, takes place fairly evenly across the population at universities."

Inside Higher Ed similarly reports:

While it makes for good headlines, researchers and advocates say using federal reporting data to assess the prevalence of campus sexual assault or to rank the relative safeness of individual colleges is ill advised and even irresponsible.

“It is really misguided to use sexual assault reports as rankings, because schools with higher rates are actually doing a better job of encouraging reporting and addressing the issue,” Laura Dunn, founder and executive director of the victims' advocacy organization SurvJustice, said. “By ranking schools with higher rates as unsafe, the media's uninformed coverage is actually discouraging schools from better addressing campus sexual assault. We don't want to push reports into the shadows; we want [assaults] to be reported and dealt with appropriately.”


Clery data should not be used as a tool for comparing or ranking institutions, said Mary P. Koss, a professor of public health at the University of Arizona and a pioneering researcher on the prevalence of campus sexual assault.

“It is a completely, totally invalid assumption,” Koss said. “In some respects, high numbers can be good. If you’re revamping your approach to sexual assault, you would actually expect the number of reports to go up. But even those high rates are not credible, as they are just the number of reports, not actual assaults. The bigger story is looking at those numbers in the context of how many rapes are being identified by climate surveys.”

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    What I've always found astonishing is that there is even a single case of sexual assault among students. As far as I recall, in the last twenty years in my country a few cases of sexual misconduct have been reported and judged in courts, but they involved a professor and a student, never just two students or more students. Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 20:16
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    @MassimoOrtolano To infer from this that there are no (or few) instances of sexual assault among students is the same mistake the OP makes. The number of reports of sexual violence may tell us more about the reporting climate than about the number of crimes. Here are some statistics on Italy.
    – ff524
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 21:05
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    I'm quite aware that unfortunately in Italy there is a serious problem of violence against women, especially in family contexts, with a number of homicides that is shocking. However, after almost thirty years inside a university, and having had many female friends and students, I feel confident in saying that, compared to the outside world, interstudent violence is almost unheard of. Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 21:14
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    It's a long and delicate discourse, and it's impossible to exhaust here in comments. For what concerns friends, there's absolutely no doubt about whether they would tell me something about this or not, for many reasons I cannot delve into here. For what concerns students, of course there can be doubts and I cannot swear about it. @WolfgangBangerth "For how many of them do you know that to be true?": One hundred percent. Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 21:40
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    @MassimoOrtolano - a good starting point might be women's organizations in Italy or Europe. You could also write a Question on Academia SE! Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 16:08

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