Indiana University-Bloomington has adopted a new policy denying incoming student-athletes with a history of sexual or domestic violence into its sports programs.
The Athletic Department’s new directive states:
Any prospective student-athlete — whether a transfer student, incoming freshman, or other status — who has been convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual violence (as defined below), or has been found responsible for sexual violence by a formal institutional disciplinary action at any previous collegiate or secondary school (excluding limited discipline applied by a sports team or temporary disciplinary action during an investigation) shall not be eligible for athletically-related financial aid, practice or competition at Indiana University.
The policy is inspired by a similar ban implemented by the Southeastern Conference in 2015. “It’s something the SEC, with their transfer ban, I think raised the issue generally,” IU vice president and director of athletics Fred Glass told the IndyStar. “We’ve been working on that since that time, in trying to put something together that makes sense for Indiana University.”
Like most institutions, Indiana University has a long way to go in figuring out how to make its campus safer for women. In its first-ever survey assessing the prevalence of sexual assault on campus, released in 2015, 17 percent of female respondents reported being survivors of either rape or attempted rape. That rate is close to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ estimate that one in five women is raped at college. Currently, there are five open Title IX federal investigations into sexual assault reports at the school, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The university attracted national attention when, last February, its deputy Title IX coordinator and Associate Dean of Students was accused of sexual assault, and again last May, when a lecturer was accused of sexual assault.
“My hope is that we’re leading in this area, and maybe others will follow with, maybe not the exact same policy, but one that fits their particular institutions,” said Glass. We’ve reached out to IU’s department of athletics for comment and will update if we hear back.