In 2012, 71 forcible-sex offenses were reported at Maryland's four- and two-year colleges. The typical annual number of such assaults ranges from about 45 to 65. Johns Hopkins University recently was criticized for its handling of an alleged rape case and whether it met the requirements of the Clery Act, the federal law named for a Lehigh University freshman who was raped and murdered there in 1986.

A task force assembled by the Obama administration recently released its report, whose aim is to pressure colleges and universities to do more to combat sexual assault on campus. Its guidelines are also meant to clarify higher education's responsibilities under the Clery Act and Title IX sexual-violence response requirements.

Olabisi Ladeji Okubadejo, a Baltimore-based Ballard Spahr attorney who advises colleges on their legal responsibilities regarding sexual-assault cases, said that "many schools had questions" about how to handle situations such as when a student reports a rape but seeks anonymity. The Obama task force's recommendations are "extremely significant and will require action by colleges and universities to come into compliance with Title IX and the Clery Act," she said.