Obama and Biden refuse to visit US colleges failing to address rape allegations

A new policy announced by the White House is designed to shame US schools into properly dealing with reported sexual assaults on their campuses

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President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, at a speaking event in June [AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais]

In the Obama administration’s ongoing attempts to address the pervasive problem of sexual assault on US college campuses, White House staffers have announced that the president is making moves to address the seriousness of the problem. In a recent statement made to the Washington Post, an official spokesman has said that “top members of the administration – including the president, the vice president, their wives and members of the Cabinet” will no longer visit any universities that are found to not be effectually dealing with rape allegations.

The US Education Department has claimed it currently is addressing more than 250 ongoing investigations at 198 post-secondary institutions into how allegations of rape and assault have been treated.

Joe Biden, the US vice president, has made comments about the rape crisis currently taking place across the United States, speaking candidly about how it should be addressed.

In a speech at the UN’s State of Women Summit in June, Biden revealed that he asked Barrack Obama about working on the issue before the 2008 presidential election.

In 2014, the White House officially created a task force to protect students from sexual assault and the ‘It’s On Us’ initiative - an advocacy programme about the awareness and prevention of rape.

In February, Biden also introduced Lady Gaga’s performance at the Academy Awards, where she performed Til it Happens to You, a song produced for a documentary detailing the incidences of sexual assault on college campuses.

The vice president also wrote an open letter to the survivor of the Stanford rape committed by Brock Turner, whose lenient sentence handed down by a California court in June made global news after his victim’s impact statement was widely circulated on the internet.

The decision to not visit college campuses failing to address concerns has received some criticism. Speaking to the Post, the administration of an unidentified college claimed that because most reported cases take place “behind closed doors,” many of the abuse allegations are “massively difficult to resolve.”

The number of alleged sexual assaults in the US has dramatically increased in recent years. In a study of nearly 1,300 colleges, “reports of sexual-assault claims...doubled from 2011 to 2013.” The study said increased awareness is leading to higher levels of the number of rapes reported to college authorities.

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