Dueling Ads Over Sex Assault at Dartmouth

April 16, 2014

Dartmouth College is running an advertising campaign touting its work to better prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus, to counter another online ad campaign by the women’s rights advocacy group UltraViolet, which says Dartmouth has a “rape problem.” Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the UltraViolet ads, which are aimed at prospective and current students and alumni, have been seen more than 60,000 times since they started running more than a week ago. The Dartmouth ads, which are running on websites including that of The Boston Globe, redirect readers to a web page describing how – “Consistent with President Obama’s call to action to address sexual assault” – the college is “making progress on a number of fronts.”

Dartmouth is one of a few dozen colleges whose sexual assault response is being put under the microscope by the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights. However, the review at Dartmouth differs from the investigations OCR has recently opened at dozens of other colleges in that it's a compliance review, opened proactively by OCR, and did not stem from an official federal complaint (by a student or otherwise) alleging that the college has violated Title IX.

(Note: This article has been updated to reflect that Dartmouth is undergoing a compliance review, not a Title IX complaint, by OCR.)

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