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Dartmouth College holds conference on sexual assault - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Dartmouth College holds conference on sexual assault

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HANOVER, N.H. -

Dartmouth College is one of 55 colleges and universities being investigated for how it handles sexual assault complaints on campus.

A summit on the issue was held Monday at the school.

Civil rights officials, forensics experts, authors and educators from across the country are gathering in Hanover, New Hampshire this week to talk about sexual violence on campus.

"I resist pretty hard that schools don't have a role in this. They absolutely do," Catherine Lhamon, United States Education Department.

It's part of a multi-day summit hosted by Dartmouth College to address the issues and come up with practices to prevent it.

"To really work together and find a solution to this problem that has plagued us for so long," said Justing Anderson, Dartmouth College.

Monday's panel, which included officials from the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice, included a question and answer session, but focused on the College's roles in preventing and responding to cases of sexual harassment and assaults.

"The most fundamental mission that a college or university has is to make sure that all students within their campus have the opportunity to learn and to learn in a way that is safe and appropriate from those students," said Lhamon.

Dartmouth and dozens of other colleges and universities are being investigated for how they deal with sexual assault claims on campus. Along with the summit, Dartmouth has also instituted a new set of policies.

"That policy involves using external investigator, train professionals to gather facts and adjudicate cases of sexual assault," said Anderson.

Victoria Nevel is a residential assistant and says it's a big problem.

"it is really nice to see that Dartmouth is taking a stand and getting public about it and being a little more transparent," said Nevel.

And it's a problem that students have literally been shouting about for years. A protest in April 2013 led to classes being canceled for what the school called a day of solidarity. And while some say more needs to be done, they say the Summit on sexual assault is a step in the right direction.

"I think there is a quote that goes something like the best time to plant a tree was 50 years ago, the second best time is now. And I think that Dartmouth making this happen is great and moving forward we can do even more," said Nevel.

They are moving forward to combat these crimes on campus.

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