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Occidental College settles some sexual assault allegations

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Occidental College said Wednesday it’s agreed to a financial settlement with female students who claimed the college swept their sexual assault accusations under the rug. The students were represented by Gloria Allred, who labels herself a “feminist lawyer.” 

She talked to the cameras during an April news conference at her Los Angeles law offices.

"President Veitch, you and I have never met," she said. "But I can assure you that when we do I will ask you to explain how so many rapes and assaults can occur on such a small campus and how you can continue to go on without declaring an emergency."

Occidental’s president wasn’t in the room. Behind her were a dozen students. One after the other told stories of being raped and said they were effectively ignored by college authorities. They said the school investigated, but did little or nothing to punish the perpetrators.  

Occidental spokesman Jim Tranquada would not reveal details of the financial settlement. But he did say a federal investigation into Occidental’s assault policies and procedures is still ongoing.

"The investigation by the Department of Education’s office of civil rights continues. This is an unrelated matter," he said.

However, that investigation was launched after Allred, and two Occidental College professors - who run the Oxy Sexual Assault Coalition - filed a complaint on behalf of three-dozen current and former students. The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday the settlement only involves ten people. It’s unclear how - or if - the settlement will help the remaining students in their complaints against Occidental.

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