Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins recently announced that her office is prosecuting Inyoung You, a former student of Boston College, for involuntary manslaughter following the suicide of her former boyfriend, Alexander Urtula, on the morning when he was scheduled to graduate from BC.

According to DA Rollins, You subjected Urtula to physical, psychological, and verbal abuse, including in thousands upon thousands of text messages in which she berated him and told him to kill himself.

The case is the second in Massachusetts in which authorities have prosecuted a young woman following her boyfriend’s suicide, and, like Michelle Carter’s case, it has led to vigorous discussion about whether homicide laws—like the manslaughter statute here—should be used to prosecute people whose words push others toward suicide. But unlike Carter’s case, this is also a story about college students that unfolded largely within their shared lives on campus, and that raises questions about whether this tragedy could have been averted.

When we talk about college students and domestic violence, to my mind as an attorney we are inherently also talking about Title IX—and yet Title IX has been strangely absent from the public conversation about Urtula’s death and the charges against You.

Under Title IX, colleges and universities have the obligation to respond when a student encounters sexual misconduct that creates a hostile environment that denies or limits their ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s programs or activities. Boston College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, like that of most colleges, covers student conduct offenses including intimate partner violence, which it defines as “any violent or controlling behavior by a person against a current or former intimate partner,” and stalking, which it defines as “a course of conduct” of “two or more acts” including among many other examples “threatening, intimidating, or intrusive behavior.”

As described by DA Rollins, You’s behavior would seem to be a violation of both policies. With limited exceptions, if faculty or staff at BC are aware of sexual misconduct, they are required to report it to the Title IX office, which would determine on next steps after consulting with the student involved. BC students can also contact the Title IX office if they become aware of abuse of others, even if they are not personally involved.

As far as I can discern from the limited public record, no reports were made in this case. (In a Boston Globe article about the struggles that colleges face in helping students with mental health problems, BC claims that the College had no idea that Urtula was in an abusive relationship.) If that is true, it seems that Urtula fell terribly through the cracks of a system intended to prevent exactly the kind of abuse that he allegedly suffered.

As discussed in the Globe article, BC has mental health services; but it also can offer students no contact orders, and can take action against abusers through its conduct system, including implementing interim measures to remove them from campus while the case is investigated if the facts call for that extreme remedy.

We can’t know whether Urtula would have taken advantage of these resources if the college had known of his situation and offered them to him. Relationships are complicated, mental health is complicated, and some harms will always be outside of the control of universities. But if Urtula in fact remained entirely outside of the Title IX system and its resources, it is incumbent upon BC—and other universities with a similar Title IX apparatus for reporting and investigating abuse—to ask why and how that happened, and how to prevent it from happening again.

To be clear—there is nothing in the very limited public record at this point to shed any light on whether BC had any obligation to take any steps that it failed to take, or whether it could have done anything differently. But going forward, there are questions that BC—and other institutions of higher education—should ask.

For example: what are the barriers that male students, and specifically male students of color or international students, must overcome to seek help when experiencing abuse? Are male students aware of the resources available, and are they aware that the resources are equally available to them as well as to female students? Are faculty and staff, especially including those who are treated as privileged or confidential resources, educated about the availability of resources for male students? And there are other questions, where the fixes are more difficult: what kinds of stigma do male students face in seeking help for abuse? Do male students from different backgrounds experience different barriers in acknowledging or naming the abuse? How can that stigma be overcome?

As an attorney who primarily represents students accused of disciplinary violations—many (though by no means all) of whom are young men—I see my clients in Alexander Urtula as well as in Inyoung You.

I have been disturbed by how many of my male clients have experienced sexual assault or relationship abuse, and how few have felt able to report the abuse, particularly where their abusers were female; some fear they will not be believed or taken seriously because of their gender. I have also witnessed many of my clients struggle with mental health difficulties.

While, as an advocate for accused students, I am often critical of Title IX bureaucracy, I recognize the value and power of Title IX as a tool to end toxic situations before they result in tragedy. Colleges do have the power and resources to help and must consider how to ensure that those resources are meaningfully available to all of their students.

Ruth O'Meara-Costello is of counsel at Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein.