Pop quiz: Sexual assault on college campuses
This past week has been a big one for talking about how to deal with sexual assault on college campuses.
The White House released a memorandum outlining the plan to establish a task force to address how to reduce sexual assault on college campuses. Also this week, a list of colleges that are under investigation was released by the Department of Education. The investigations focus on whether the schools violated Title IX, which protects people from gender discrimination. (Also this week, the Department of Education stated that Title IX covers transgender individuals as well!)
There’s a whole lot that can be talked about here. We could talk about how most rapes on campus are not reported. We could talk about how most rapes that are reported don’t result in any meaningful resolution. We could talk about victim blaming, dudebro culture, frats and sororities, etc.
— Jesselyn Radack (@JesselynRadack) May 4, 2014
What struck me most about this was the incredible diversity in the colleges listed in that DOE investigation group. There are schools that didn’t surprise me at all (hi, Penn State!) due primarily to their size, and then some that struck me as really odd, like Knox College and Bethany College, mostly because I hadn’t heard of them per se. And then what really popped out at me was Sarah Lawrence, because of its history as a women’s college. I had to look it up to remember if it was now coed, and it has been since 1968.
I’m not sure why I expected the women’s colleges to be better at this issue than others. I’m not sure why I expected smaller schools to be better at it. I think I fell into the trap of separating college life from real life, and assumed that the ivory tower was a place of protection, when we all know it is not. I do know my institution has dealt with some non-assault incidents recently and dealt with them in a fairly transparent and timely fashion. Whether that would apply to a sexual assault, I don’t know. (I prefer to remain anonymous at this time, so I will not provide more details on the incidents or my institution – thanks for understanding.)
I am going to investigate our procedures in the coming weeks!
Here’s my question to you: how well does/did your college deal with sexual assault? Do you even know?
The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the afternoon (ET).