Posts Tagged higher education

College Life, Rape and Public Discourse

There’s a major discussion happening right now about sexual assault on college campuses (i.e. it’s made the NY Times; some other posts and articles here, here, here and here).  The basic shape of the conversation can be described fairly simply:

Rape and sexual assault are already underreported crimes.  Students on college campuses are victims of rape and sexual assault on a regular basis; college campuses nationwide engage in efforts to minimize reporting of sexual assault on campus and take minimal actions against perpetrators.  New regulations are shining a light on the situation.

The consensus seems to be that colleges aren’t doing enough to protect students from sexual assault and aren’t doing enough with regard to punishing perpetrators; it seems to me the worst a college can do is expel a perpetrator and even then they run risks they may prefer to avoid.  As I think about this issue, it seems that colleges are trying to thread the needle with regard to legal liability – in the absence of specific knowledge about specific threats to a student from/by another student, they can’t take any action; they can’t expel a student because he might rape someone.  Without evidence, they can’t punish a student.  In many cases, victims can’t identify the perpetrators. Read the rest of this entry »

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