The Montana Law Review at the University of Montana Alexander Blewett III School of Law hosted the 2016 Browning Symposium Sexual Assault: Conflicts Between Campus and Courts Friday on the UM campus.

Opening the symposium was U.S. Attorney for the State of Montana Michael Cotter, who was filling in for Vanita Gupta, head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

Cotter opened his remarks by praising the University of Montana, the City of Missoula, the city and campus police departments and the Missoula County Attorney's Office for their cooperation since the investigations into sexual assaults began in Missoula in 2012.

"Currently, there are over 200 other colleges and universities that are being investigated for compliance, as well as other matters, dealing with sexual assault," Cotter began. "These investigations are being conducted by the Department of Justice, along with the Department of Education. In 2014, President Obama set up a White House Task Force to examine this issue, and since our involvement, the University of Montana has made great progress, and has become the standard followed by many other education institutions that face this very difficult issue."

Cotter referred to the common concerns that all parents feel when they send their children off to school.

"Too often a students experience in schools or institutions are marred and impaired by sexual violence," he said. "According to the best available research based on surveys of students, nearly 20 percent of college women and roughly six percent of college men are victims of attempted or completed sexual assault. I think the general public believes that most sexual assaults are committed by strangers, but the fact is that three out of four rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. Statistically, only two percent of college students who suffer sexual assault, while incapacitated, report the crime. Only 13 percent of other college students who are rape survivors report the crime."

Also addressing the symposium included Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, along with panelists from Harvard, Boston College, New York University, Hofstra, and the University of Pittsburgh.

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