Last week, UltraViolet, a women’s issues advocacy group, launched an online petition urging the Princeton Review, which produces one of the leading college rankings, to include information on colleges’ sexual assault track records. As of Thursday afternoon, the organization said it had collected 34,712 signatures.
“If the quality of the food in the dining hall warrants a couple questions and a rating from the Princeton Review, I would like to think student safety and sexual assault would be important enough,” explained Karin Roland, the campaign director of UltraViolet.
“If schools have a problem with the prevalence of sexual assault on those campuses, those students and those parents have a right to know,” Roland said.
It's an idea that has traction in Washington. Last month, a dozen House members, including two Republicans, went after U.S. News & World Report, which releases the bible of college rankings. In a letter, they urged the publisher to include data on the prevalence of sexual assault, as well as information about the schools' efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault.
But unlike graduation rate or fraternity membership, a school’s sexual assault problem is difficult to measure, or even see.