Deadline approaches for colleges, universities to report number of sexual assault cases

WGN Investigates

CHICAGO -- There is a November 1 midnight deadline for Illinois colleges and universities to deliver a report to Attorney General Lisa Madigan citing the number of sexual assault cases on campus and how they’re handled.

Madigan wants to add an extra layer of security in case the Trump administration rolls back Obama-era guidelines on how universities handled these cases.

U.S Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the rollback several months ago but it’s not clear what that means for the thousands of universities across the country.

Madigan estimates that 20 percent of women are assaulted on college campus in some form.

“Time and again we have seen where schools want to act as if this isn’t even happening. And we know that is absolutely not the case," Madigan said.

DeVos has said that her administration would rewrite the rules in an effort to protect both the victims of sexual assault and the accused.

One Chicago mother said more protection is best.

Shamaun Brown's daughter, Osciara Lockwood, 19, came home during spring break of her freshman year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her mother noticed she had lost weight. Back then Osciara said the weight loss was healthy eating. She went back to school but not long after, her mother got a phone call from her daughter that she was in the hospital after taking sleeping pills.

The 19-year-old attempted suicide but survived. She took a few days to recover but was determined to finish off the school year. When she came home that summer, after a lot of pushing and questions from mom, she finally revealed what had happened.

“[She said she] went to a party one night and at the party she said she was drinking. She woke up and her bottoms were off,” her mother, Shamaun Brown, said.

It’s not clear how the assault case was handled at school. WGN reached out to the University of Illinois.

Through a statement they said:

“University police, the Title IX office and the Office of the Dean of Students did not receive a report about this case. With any such a report, we immediately connect a student with resources.” 

Osciara’s mom doesn’t know what to believe. What she knows for sure is that her daughter was a different person when she came home that summer.

And not long after, she attempted suicide a second time, hanged herself and died.

“I sent my child away as a happy vibrant, eager to learn, fun child and after spring break she just changed completely,” she said.

It's been a tough couple of months for her mother.  She says her daughter couldn’t deal with what happened and decided to take her life.

She’s now hoping that her story serves as a reminder of what can happen on a college campus.

Here are some websites that detail cases across the country:
Campus Safety and Security
Safety at Illinois