Johns Hopkins University mistakenly blocked 18 complaints about on-campus sexual misconduct that were filed online since 2016 — and blamed the blunder on a computer problem.
A statement, released this week by the prestigious Baltimore school’s Office of Institutional Equity, said that its website issues prevented the reports — dating from January 2016 through October 2018 — from going through the proper channels.
“OIE has contacted or attempted to contact all those who submitted these reports and will provide expedited support and services to address any of their concerns immediately,” the statement said.
The office is also working with campus security to update crime logs, and is consulting with the school’s IT department to make sure the website issues are fixed, the statement added.
The admission comes in the midst of on-campus rallies — where students have protested what they claim were inadequate, or delayed probes into sexual abuse allegations, according to the Baltimore Sun.
About 100 students gathered Thursday afternoon, holding signs with the messages “We believe her” and chanting “Hopkins silence equals violence.”
And more than 1,400 current students, alumni as well as students from other universities signed a petition demanding more transparent, quicker investigations into sexual abuse complaints at the university, as well as greater accountability.
Madelynn Wellons, a junior, told the paper she was sexually assaulted on campus during her freshman year, in 2016. By the time the university completed its investigation a year and a half later — and found the accused student guilty — he had transferred to another school, she said.
“He suffered no consequences,” Wellons told the outlet. “I believed the system would protect me, and I was so wrong.”
In a statement issued to the Sun, the school declined to comment on that specific case or other allegations because of privacy concerns.
“The university takes allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault very seriously and has a comprehensive policy on investigating and resolving such complaints,” the statement said.
“Because such allegations have serious consequences for everyone involved, the parties to an investigation deserve a careful, thorough and balanced investigation.”