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Ohio State To Shut Down Sexual Assault Support Center

Ohio State University seal on campus

Ohio State University says it's shutting down its three-year-old Sexual Civility and Empowerment unit after finding it didn't properly document and report students' sexual assault complaints.

Some survivors were told they were lying or fabricating their stories, and subject to "victim blame." Records obtained by WOSU show some SCE workers also subjected survivors to "re-traumatizing treatment," and accused them of "suffering from mental illness."

The university said Tuesday it is eliminating four positions within the unit and terminating those employees. The school suspended the office in February, but the complaints stretch back to 2016.

Reports say that SCE training labeled rape as a "miscommunication," and program content reinforced rape myths. Such programming characterized sexual violence as "mistakes" and "the result of ignorance." Students reported being told "if you're not ready to heal, our program is not for you."

The school also says it's asking experts from a law firm to develop a new program for supporting sexual assault victims and to review how Ohio State responds to reports of sexual and gender-based harassment and violence.

University officials say they will reach out to students who contacted SCE to see if they have received necessary support services.

The school plans to have a new office in place by the fall.