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University fined $82,500 over safety reports

The U.S. Department of Education says Washington State University did not properly report rapes.

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Washington State University announced on Friday that the U.S. Department of Education had fined it $82,500 for not properly reporting and handling two sexual assaults in 2007.

A federal law known as the Clery Act, named for Jeanne Clery, a Lehigh University freshman who was raped and murdered by another student in her dorm in 1986, requires colleges to inform students and employees about potential threats.

WSU will appeal the fine, spokesman Darin Watkins told The Associated Press.

According to the AP:

The first incident stemmed from an Aug. 31, 2007, call to campus police that was incorrectly labeled as a "domestic dispute" and never corrected even though investigators found the case may have included a rape. The victim submitted a written statement that said a friend of her husband had sexually assaulted her.

The second incident involved a January 27, 2007, police report of sexual assault that was labeled as "unfounded" by a records manager after the victim decided not to provide substantiating information to police. The records manager had no authority to label the case unfounded, and that action caused the case to be removed from campus crime statistics.

This year, several schools have been found in violation of the Clery Act, according to USA Today. The government fined Virginia Tech $55,000 for not quickly alerting the campus about the 2007 mass shooting that killed 32 students and faculty members. The college is also appealing.

Eastern Michigan University has paid the highest fines issued under the Clery Act so far, the AP reports. The Education Department charged the college $350,000 for not properly notifying its students and employees in 2006 that it was investigating the death of a student as a murder.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/110819/wsu-clery-act-improper-reporting-rapes-us-education-department