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Students Accuse USC Of Ignoring Rape Charges

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USC Campus. (Photo by ~db~ via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Two USC students have filed a federal complaint against the school, alleging that it mishandled or dismissed their rape cases.

The U.S. Department of Education is now investigating the school.

One of the students, Tucker Reed, says she was raped by her former boyfriend in 2010. When she took her accusations to university officials in December 2012, she said that USC employees did not thoroughly investigate them and eventually dismissed the case, L.A. Times reports.

"The process made me feel raped a second time," Reed, 23, said at a news conference on the USC campus on Monday. She says she's not the only rape victim who felt the system failed her. Many of the students "were blamed for their victimization and were forced to watch impotently as their cases were routinely misreported, misconstrued, mishandled or discounted entirely," she said.

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"I blogged openly about the details of my rape and the university's abuses and watched as my inbox filled with messages from fellow students who had experienced the same injustices and stayed silent,'' Reed said.

About a dozen students were at the press conference, including two male students. Those who spoke said they were shocked at the university administration's failure to act.

Ariella Mostov said officials were "unwilling to make any accommodations at all" and would not let her switch her schedule to avoid attending the same classes as the student she said assaulted her. "I was outraged," she stated. Mostov said that the university presented "their version" of events to the police, who then declined to investigate.

Reed hopes that the federal investigation will result in USC improving its handling of sexual assaults. She would like the university to reopen her case, even though the district attorney's office cited "insufficient evidence." Reed sued the man in civil court.

The USC case is not alone in being charged with Title IX—the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education—offenses: UC Berkeley, Dartmouth, Yale, Swarthmore and Occidental colleges have also come under investigation.

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In a written statement, Jody Shipper, USC's Title IX coordinator and executive director of the Office of Equity and Diversity, said the university "looks forward" to working with federal officials to address any concerns. "The university remains vigilant in addressing any issues promptly and fully as they arise," she said.