Date of Award

Winter 4-25-2019

Thesis Access

Open Access Honors Thesis

Thesis Location

Honors College Thesis


Exercise and Sport Science

Faculty Advisor

Mario Vassallo


The following paper investigates sexual violence on university campuses. It discusses the role of the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 along with a Dear Colleague Letter enacted by the United States’ federal government to all public institutions regarding how to respond when complaints and allegations of sexual violence are made. The paper addresses the statistics and common misconceptions surrounding sexual violence on college campuses before focusing specifically on student-athletes’ involvement in sexually violent crimes. It then looks into three highly publicized cases where student-athletes are the alleged perpetrators of sexual violence. The three cases analyzed are: the University of Montana football team and player Beau Donaldson, Brock Turner from the Stanford University swim team, and the Duke University Lacrosse team. After the events of the cases are highlighted, the question of whether the student-athletes were given lighter sentences due to their status is posed and discussed. The paper concludes with the general feeling that yes, student-athletes are often given privilege when their punishments are considered for sexual violence. However, this is a topic where more investigation and analysis of specific cases is needed to come to a widely accepted and complete conclusion.