2014 Was the Year Colleges Finally Had to Answer for Rape on Campus

Three years after the government changed the guidelines for how colleges report sexual assault, rape became a dominant issue at universities across America

Emma Sulkowicz, a senior visual arts student at Columbia University, carries a mattress on Sept. 5 in New York City in protest of the university's lack of action after she reported being raped during her sophomore year. Sulkowicz has said she is committed to carrying the mattress everywhere she goes until the university expels the rapist or he leaves.

Photographer: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

It has been three years since the government issued new guidelines for how colleges must handle sexual violence, but this was the year we learned just how badly our institutions needed them. Stories of sexual assaults on campuses—and mangled responses by colleges—made rape a dominant issue for American colleges and universities. Meanwhile, in response to those who criticized the coverage as sensational or downright overblown, a growing number of women revealed their own experiences of sexual assault at college. Here are the stories that fundamentally changed the way we think about sexual assault this year:  

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