Protesters at American University demand mandatory course on sexual assault prevention

A major protest erupted on the campus of American University Thursday afternoon. Some students are angry with what they say is the university's poor record on sexual assault prevention.

The protest was peaceful, but student demonstrators say what has been going on at American University in regards to its reporting of and preventing sexual abuse is providing them no peace of mind. And to drive their point home, they took to the streets to get that message out.

The protesters want American University to create a mandatory course all students must take that teaches campus sexual assault prevention. It is an issue these protesters say the university itself is coming up short on.

"It makes you more cautious, but it also makes you angrier," said sophomore student Amanda Swanson.

She said the university is missing opportunities to send a clear message.

"They are not really properly educating incoming freshmen -- not only about sexual assault, but also what constitutes consent," she said.

Just weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Education launched a Title IX civil rights investigation of American University -- one of only 104 colleges across the county. The probe centers on how the university responds to cases of on-campus sexual violence.

American University officials would not talk to us on camera, but put out a statement saying the "university does not tolerate any form of sexual violence or sexual misconduct. University complaints are investigated promptly, reported properly."

While these protesters are speaking with one voice, that is not necessarily the case when you talk to other students about how their university is dealing with this subject.

The reactions FOX 5 heard ranged from "good job" to "long way to go."

"When it comes to this subject, it's hard to even get an appointment at the counseling center," said student Ally Surine.

"The university definitely does do to a lot to put forth all the information that they need to about sexual assault," said John Louch.

"There seems to be a lot of resources out there, but I do hear mixed reviews from undergraduates that I work with," said graduate student Roxanne Kruger.

American University pointed reporters to a list of websites aimed at end campus sex assaults. Meanwhile, students say their protests are not about to end anytime soon.

Catholic University in Northeast D.C. is also part of this investigation by the education department's Office for Civil Rights.

The Department of Education says they are at the very beginning of investigating all of these 104 institutions, and has indicated at this point that there has not been any wrongdoing by the universities.

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