Baylor survivors risk disciplinary sanctions when reporting violence

According to the law firm representing six student survivors, Baylor University used its strict code of conduct to discourage victims from reporting sexual violence.

The religious college bans students from using drugs or alcohol or having premarital sex. The federal government has encouraged schools to provide amnesty to survivors who must disclose these kinds of student code violations in order to seek help in the wake of gender violence. Yet Baylor has taken the opposite tact. Victims report that they faced disciplinary sanctions after reporting their assaults — for example, for drinking the night of the assault.

Others chose to remain silent rather than risk threatened punishment. Chad Dunn, an attorney representing Baylor survivors, told the Associated Press that “[a] number of victims were told that if they made a report of rape, their parents would be informed of the details of where they were and what they were doing.”

Baylor has now extended amnesty for certain minor offenses but not for (apparently very serious) sexual conduct violations.

Baylor is just one of many schools drawing criticism for punishing, rather than supporting, survivors of gender violence. Earlier this summer, complaints to the Department of Education reported that New York City public schools have made a habit of suspending black girls who are harassed and assaulted.

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Alexandra Brodsky was a senior editor at During her four years at the site, she wrote about gender violence, reproductive justice, and education equity and ran the site's book review column. She is now a Skadden Fellow at the National Women's Law Center and also serves as the Board Chair of Know Your IX, a national student-led movement to end gender violence, which she co-founded and previously co-directed. Alexandra has written for publications including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Nation, and she is the co-editor of The Feminist Utopia Project: 57 Visions of a Wildly Better Future. She has spoken about violence against women and reproductive justice at campuses across the country and on MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, ESPN, and NPR.

Alexandra Brodsky was a senior editor at

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