Panel Paper: The Impact of Title IX Sexual Assault Investigations on American Universities

Friday, November 3, 2017
Stetson D (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Dave Marcotte, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Jane Palmer, American University, Jason M. Lindo, Texas A&M University and Isaac Swensen, Montana State University

Sexual violence has long been a problem on college campuses, yet federal policies to protect students have largely been ineffectual. Spurred by student grievances, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights recently began investigating how sexual assault cases were handled at a number of institutions under the Title IX provisions of the Education Amendments of 1972. These investigations focus attention on specific colleges’ responses to cases of sexual violence and raise the specter that these institutions may fail to properly investigate allegations or punish perpetrators. In this paper, we examine the implications of these investigations on college enrollment and alumni giving. Using panel data on enrollment and giving, and data on the timing of Title IX investigations launched by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, we estimate a series of interrupted time series and synthetic control models. We estimate both immediate and lasting effects of the public notoriety that Title IX investigations bring, by calling attention to both victimization and process failures at specific universities.