294 sexual assaults reported on Minnesota campuses in 2015

Published 2:49 pm Saturday, December 3, 2016

ST. PAUL — A new report says nearly 300 sexual assaults were reported on Minnesota college campuses last year, and law enforcement was only made aware of 55 of the incidents.

The state’s first report on campus sexual assault was released Thursday with the goal of tracking the incidents in a more detailed fashion than federal policy requires.

Of the 294 incidents reported in 2015, 64 were investigated, 108 were referred for discipline and 55 were reported to law enforcement.

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“We know that there’s a big problem of underreporting of sexual assault on college campuses so that the numbers of actual sexual assaults that are occurring are likely much higher,” said Tina Marisam, assistant director with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities Campus.

Nichole Sorenson, a research analyst with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, which collected the data, said: “I’d caution you to draw too many conclusions. I feel like in the coming years this data will become more reliable.”

Minnesota now requires all colleges and universities in the state to start collecting and disclosing reports of rape or other sexual attacks. Since lawmakers’ approval of this new law came halfway through 2015, some schools might not have all the data from the first part of the year.

State law also requires students to attend informational sessions on sexual assault as part of their orientation.