- Associated Press - Monday, July 4, 2016

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - Clemson University says a big jump in the number of sex offenses reported on campus happened after the school started an education and awareness campaign.

The school reported 17 incidents of forcible sex offenses and dating violence at Clemson in 2014, after just two reports in 2012.

But the increase came after Clemson started an education program and encouraged victims to come forward, Pickens County Advocacy Center Executive Director Shannon Lambert told the Anderson Independent-Mail (https://bit.ly/29iXQb8 ).

The university’s new interpersonal violence prevention coordinator said similar increases are happening at other universities that have made recent efforts to reduce sexual violence. But Megan Fallon said history has shown that in many places, the number of reports eventually decline.

Clemson created a task force in 2012 to study how to reduce campus sexual assaults. Before graduating, Clemson students must complete a course teaching them how to intervene if they think someone is being abused.

University officials “are doing a much better job of educating our student body, faculty and staff. As a result of that, we are getting more reports,” said Jerry Knighton, Clemson’s Title IX coordinator.

One unanticipated development from the crackdown is a wave of lawsuits against colleges sued by students who were kicked off campus for misconduct that never led to criminal charges. One Clemson freshman, using the name John Doe, is suing the school to overturn a one-year suspension. He said he had consensual sex with a female student in October, and she filed an unfounded complaint.

The university has yet to respond to the lawsuit in court, and school officials refused to talk about the case.

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Information from: Anderson Independent-Mail, https://www.andersonsc.com

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