In the last year, UW-Madison saw an increase of more than 100 sexual assault reports, according to a university official.
The number of sexual assaults reported to a campus resource rose from 217 reports in 2015 to 325 in 2016. This more than doubles the increase between 2014 and 2015, when the number of reports rose by only 45.
Tonya Schmidt, assistant dean and director in the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, said the office has consistently seen an uptick of reports after they were able to publicize resources and clearly communicate their process with a Violence Against Women grant from the Department of Justice in 2009.
Following this, Schmidt said she believes many students felt more comfortable coming forward once they knew what resources existed, rights afforded to them and how the reporting process works. This includes knowing that a student won’t get in trouble for underage drinking if they report a sexual assault.
More than two-thirds of the 2016 reports—215 instances—were disclosed to confidential resources and no further information was given to be followed up on for an investigation. This means that officials do not have information about what degree of assault and where these occurred, or if they were perpetrated by a student.
Of the ones that did contain additional information, 15 proceeded with an investigation.
Out of the 15 investigations, four were found not responsible and six responsible. Two students found guilty were placed on university probation, three were suspended and one assailant was expelled.
Five cases remain under investigation.
Update March 6, 1:33 p.m.: This article was updated to provide additional clarity