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Johns Hopkins University missed 18 complaints of sexual misconduct due to a website issue, officials say

Catherine Rentz, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in News & Features

BALTIMORE -- Johns Hopkins University mistakenly blocked 18 complaints of sexual misconduct filed online from reaching its Title IX office between January 2016 and October 2018, the university said Thursday.

A statement from the University's Office of Institutional Equity, which investigates such complaints, attributed the problem to an issue with its website.

The announcement comes as more than 1,000 students, alumni and students from other universities have signed a petition demanding more transparent and quicker investigations into sexual abuse complaints and improved accountability from the university.

A group called JHUToo is planning a protest today at noon to urge the university to reform its investigations. In particular, they are asking for more decisive action -- especially in one case in which a visiting graduate student alleges she was sexually assaulted by a Johns Hopkins University professor, according to a petition.

In the statement posted online by the Office of Institutional Equity, officials wrote that they will be working to fix its website, to respond to students and to correct its records as needed.

One student who filed a complaint of sexual assault on campus in 2016 posted a message she said she received from the university yesterday to the JHUToo student Facebook group. The university message notified her that the complaint she submitted in 2016 had not reached investigators, she said.

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"They never got back to me, and the issue was never addressed by the institution," she wrote the student group, according to her message, which was forwarded to The Sun.

Complaints of sexual misconduct filed with the Office of Institutional Equity nearly doubled, from 153 in 2016 to 275 in 2017, according to the office's 2017 annual report.

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