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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Students Demand Better Response To Campus Rape

Students at Amherst College attend a class in front of College Row. (Samuel Masinter/Amherst College)

Students at Amherst College attend a class in front of College Row. (Samuel Masinter/Amherst College)

A growing number of female students are filing complaints against their colleges and universities, seeking to reform how their institutions deal with sexual violence by fellow students.

Women at Occidental College and the University of Southern California claim that their universities fail to meet federal Title IX standards for preventing and responding to sexual assault on campus.

At Occidental, one victim was shocked to learn that after she graduated, her attacker, who’d admitted to assaulting another student, was allowed back to school after writing a book report about sexual assault.

“I felt appalled, first of all by what happened to her, and appalled that the college hadn’t handled it better.”
– Biddy Martin, president
of Amherst College

Students at Swarthmore, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dartmouth, Yale and UC Berkeley have filed similar complaints.

Their inspiration? The Amherst College student who came forward in the pages of Amherst’s student newspaper last year with her story of how a fellow dorm mate raped her.

The student also recounted how Amherst dissuaded her from getting help, denied her a room change, involuntarily committed her to a psych ward and wouldn’t let her study abroad.

Her attacker graduated with honors.

Biddy Martin has been the president of Amherst College for two years. She learned about the student’s rape and the subsequent handling of her case in the Amherst student newspaper.

“I felt appalled, first of all by what happened to her, and appalled that the college hadn’t handled it better,” Martin told Here & Now. “In my first year, I had learned from students that they felt policies, procedures and the level of focus on sexual misconduct, assault and rape were inadequate, and so we had begin to initiate changes even before last fall when Angie’s account appeared. When I learned of what had occurred, I was determined that we should be open about where we had responsibility for having failed to respond appropriately.”

Studies show that one in four college women will be the victim of a sexual assault or an attempted sexual assault. Research also suggests that over 90 percent of college sexual assaults are committed by serial rapists.

However, for a variety of complicated reasons, many women do not come forward.

Part of this has to do with a lack of understanding of what constitutes rape or sexual assault, says John Lauerman, a reporter for Bloomberg News who has reported on the group of students at Occidental College.

“I’ve talked with at least a dozen women who have been sexually assaulted,” Lauerman said. “There’s a great deal of shame that’s involved, and they frequently aren’t believed.”

Often women don’t want to pursue criminal charges against their rapist, and will go through the college’s procedures for handling sexual assault.

“What women are looking for from colleges is the preservation of the non-hostile environment,” Lauerman said. “They just want to be able to go to school and not see their attacker over and over again. They don’t necessarily want anyone to go to jail.”

Guests:

Transcript

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

Well, now we're going to spend some time talking about a problem that doesn't get much attention and doesn't have an easy solution: sexual assault on college campuses. A growing number of women at colleges around the country are filing complaints with the federal government alleging that their schools are failing to meet federal standards for preventing and responding to sexual assault on campus.

In a moment we'll hear from the president of one college that is getting out in front of this issue, but right now we're joined by Bloomberg news reporter John Lauerman, who has done extensive reporting on this. Welcome.

JOHN LAUERMAN: Pleasure to be here.

HOBSON: So you write that the procedures to prevent and investigate rapes and other sexual assaults on campuses are antiquated and amateurish.

LAUERMAN: That's often the case. There have been cases where students are still involved in investigating cases of sexual assault.

HOBSON: The students themselves?

LAUERMAN: The students themselves are involved. Up until last year at University of North Carolina, students were directly involved in this sort of thing. At some colleges - sometimes people who are charged - administers who are charged with investigating sexual assaults deliberately have not been given training because of fear that they'll be biased.

HOBSON: Well, give us a sense first of all of how big the problem is of rape on college campuses.

LAUERMAN: Well, across the country it's estimated - the Justice Department estimated in a study that came out about a decade ago that about one out of four women in college - at some point in her college career will either be the victim of an assault or an attempted assault.

HOBSON: One-fourth of all women.

LAUERMAN: It's staggering when you think about it, and a lot of education still needs to be done.

HOBSON: And many of the offenders are repeat offenders, that they have, as you write, assaulted an average of four people each.

LAUERMAN: So that's some of the research that's come from David Lisak, who is a former University of Massachusetts clinical psychologist. His estimate is something like 90 percent, well over 90 percent, of all college sexual assaults are actually committed by serial rapists. And the reason that that's important is that each time one of these campus sexual assaults occurs, and it's actually reported, and it's only the minority that are reported, probably only on the order of about say five percent of assaults are reported, but each time one is reported, then that is a valuable opportunity to perhaps identify a serial rapist.

HOBSON: But often they're not reported.

LAUERMAN: They've often not reported, and that's for a variety of reasons. I've talked with at least a dozen women who have been sexually assaulted. There is a great deal of shame that's involved, and they frequently aren't believed, even though the rate of women who falsely report sexual assault is in fact very, very low. Studies have shown that, that it's less than - it's less than five percent.

HOBSON: And sometimes they're friends or acquaintances with the assaulter.

LAUERMAN: That's right. That's almost always the case, that they at least know the assailant. And actually in campus sexual assault, what often happens is these assaults are concentrated during the beginning of the year. People are - they're seeking out new relationships, they're going to parties, perhaps they're drinking for the first time. They run into lots of people that they have never met before.

They're in a situation where they trust those people, or at least they want to trust them, and then before they know it, perhaps they become intoxicated, et cetera, and that trust is gone.

HOBSON: Well, and I can hear people that are listening to this saying, well, maybe part of the issue is that when they do report it, there are some questions about the definition of an assault.

LAUERMAN: Yeah, you know, and assaults take place when there's non-consensual sex. And you can't consent to sex when you're intoxicated. There's also, you know, situations where assailants threaten people, or they hold them down. Sometimes they use drugs, et cetera.

So I think many women, young students, come to school without a clear understanding of what consent is. And in those situations they often really can't come to terms with the idea that they've been assaulted. So that interferes with reporting.

HOBSON: Now, you focus specifically on the case of some students at Occidental College in California. Tell us about that.

LAUERMAN: I interviewed this woman who said that she had been sexually assaulted. She had gone public with the charges. She was assaulted in her freshman year. She decided not to report it. She felt like that she was somehow at fault.

Later on, about a year later, she was hanging out with some friends, and she met another woman. The name of her assailant came up. They looked at each other and sort of said I had a bad experience with this person, what about you. They later found out that each of them had been assaulted by the same man.

HOBSON: Wow.

LAUERMAN: Not long after that, they decided to file reports with the college. In one case, the assailant admitted to the charges. In the other case, he did not acknowledge, but a hearing found him responsible. They expelled him. However, a few months later, after relaying this expulsion to one of the women who had been attacked, they changed their minds, they issued another ruling and said that he would be allowed to return to campus after she had graduated.

And then subsequently, they discovered that a third woman, she had also reported this same man for sexual assault, and I believe he had been found responsible for that, as well. We asked Occidental why this man was being allowed to return to campus, and they were unable to give us an answer. They said it's confidential.

HOBSON: And now these women who are involved in this have filed a complaint saying that the federal government should step in here because Occidental is not living up to its - what's required in terms of creating a safe place to be.

LAUERMAN: That's right. A large group of Occidental women, I believe it's now up above 40 women, have filed complaints saying that Occidental doesn't prevent sexual assaults, that they don't respond to them appropriately, that they don't report them to the government as they should be and that women are not encouraged to report their sexual assaults.

Now Occidental has already hired a couple of former sexual assault prosecutors to help them redesign their policies. They're reviewing actually this particular case, as well, to see if they can respond more effectively.

HOBSON: It sounds, in listening to you talk about this, that one of the big problems is that these colleges and universities are trying to handle this on their own rather than simply turning these people over to the judicial system.

LAUERMAN: Well, see that's a complicated issue because a lot of women don't want to go to the judicial system. I think it's widely perceived by women who are assaulted in any context that the judicial system does not handle sexual assaults well and that women who go through the judicial system often find themselves disbelieved and blamed.

HOBSON: But the colleges do it better?

LAUERMAN: Well, what women are looking for from colleges is again the preservation of the non-hostile environment. In other words they just want to go to school. They don't want to have to switch schools. They just want to be able to go to school and not see their attacker over and over again. They don't necessarily want to see anybody go to jail.

As far as these - adjudicating of cases that come before them, I think that's going to take a lot of work. That's, you know, a very delicate issue. The colleges themselves can be sued by students if they prevent students from coming back to school, if they expel students, and that's always an issue for colleges. And I think, you know, that may be in play at all types of colleges that try to expel students who have been found responsible for sexual assault.

HOBSON: John Lauerman is a reporter for Bloomberg News. He's just done some great reporting on serial rapists on college campuses around the country and the responses to that. John, thank you so much.

LAUERMAN: Thank you.

HOBSON: And when we come back, we'll talk to the president of one college that's trying to get out in front of this issue.

ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:

Also a quick note. Later on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, Robert Siegel will speak with General Salim Idris, the commander of the Syrian rebels. He defected from the Assad regime last summer, has been seeking more arms for rebels from the U.S. That's later today, but back in a minute, HERE AND NOW.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HOBSON: It's HERE AND NOW, and we're talking about serial rape on college campuses and the growing number of complaints by female students that colleges are not protecting them well enough. Joining us on the line now is Amherst College president, Biddy Martin, who took over at Amherst College two years ago and has shepherded the college through a high-profile student campus rape accusation. President Martin, thanks for joining us.

BIDDY MARTIN: Thank you for having me.

HOBSON: So you've had a lot of experience with this, even in your short tenure there at Amherst. What is the core of the problem, do you think?

MARTIN: Well, I wish I knew the core of the most fundamental problem, of sexual misconduct and sexual assault. I suppose there are different ways of trying to get at that problem. But when it comes to how to handle it on college campuses, I can speak about what I found when I came to Amherst, and that is just a sense that our procedures and protocols and our efforts at prevention were simply not robust enough, not systematic enough, and weren't giving students the confidence they obviously need to report incidents of misconduct and assault, and therefore needed to be changed.

HOBSON: Do you think that's a problem nationwide? I mean, before Amherst, you were at University of Wisconsin.

MARTIN: I do think it's a problem nationwide, yes. I think it has been difficult for institutions to keep up with what's expected, and we just haven't done a good enough job, to be honest, in being in front of some of the problems that face our campuses and face our students. And I think there is now a welcome rush to do better.

HOBSON: Now, the reason that this became such a big issues at Amherst and around the country is because of this case involving a former student, Angie Epifano, who says that she was raped in her dorm room by a fellow student. Then she claimed the college talked her out of seeking help, even sent her to a psych ward when she became suicidal. The student who allegedly raped her graduated with honors; she left the school.

How do you feel looking back about the school's response to that incident?

MARTIN: Well, when I learned about it, which was when Angie published her account in the student newspaper this past fall, I felt appalled, first of all, appalled by what happened to her and appalled that the college hadn't handled it better. I had learned in my first year of Amherst, which I've only been here two years, so in my first year I had learned from students that they felt policies, the procedures and the level of focus on sexual misconduct, assault and rape were inadequate.

And so we had begun to initiate changes even before last fall when Angie's account appeared. When I learned of what had occurred, as I say, I was determined that we should be open about where we had responsibility for having failed to respond appropriately and that we communicated that after a study of how we had indeed failed in some ways to respond as well as we should have.

HOBSON: Well, do you think that it should be handled by the college and not by police? I think some people may be surprised that this kind of a crime would not be handled just through the judicial system.

MARTIN: Yes, I think that is an understandable confusion and concern. It is important that those incidents be brought to the point where they can enter a judicial process if the victim wishes to pursue it. I think what a lot of people don't understand is: A, that college and universities are required to set up processes for investigating and conducting hearings on these matters, and remedying the situation. And some survivors will choose to take it further, and some will not, for a complicated range of reasons. When I say take it further, I mean not only further in the on-campus judicial process but out further than that.

HOBSON: To file charges.

MARTIN: To file charges. And every victim or survivor needs to have the right resources so that he or she understands what their options are and is encouraged to seek the remedies that will be most helpful to them and most helpful to the community as a whole.

HOBSON: Well, tell us concrete things here about what is different now about Amherst's response than would have been two years ago.

MARTIN: Yeah, I can give you some good examples. I mean, overall what I would say is the procedures and the processes are much more systematic, much more rigorous. It was the case before this past year that sexual misconduct - assault and rape - went through the same process that all student misconduct cases went through. And one of the things our survivors' groups made very apparent is - and also those who get charged in these cases - they made it very clear that in a small college having a potential future faculty member of classmate sit on a hearing board and learn the kinds of details about one's own experiences put the student at a disadvantage going forward.

So we now have hearing boards made up entirely of people from outside the college. We're fortunate to be in a five-college setting here in western Massachusetts that allows us to collaborate so that we can have people who are trained, who can sit on these hearing boards, who come from outside the college. And I think that's one of the changes that is making the students who have been involved in all of this more comfortable about the idea that victims will come forward.

HOBSON: Well, that's the key, I guess, according to what we just heard from John Lauerman at Bloomberg, that many women just don't want to report these. Maybe they're friends with the assailant.

MARTIN: Yes. I hope in all cases - the most egregious and those that might seem at one level less egregious - I hope in all cases that students at Amherst will feel confident coming forward. The important thing is to work hard on the front end, of course, and we have new training, bystander training initiatives underway. We've worked really hard and will continue to work harder to make the entire community aware of their responsibility when they hear, see or hear about any incident that should be reported.

And what I really wish is that education itself, and engaging young people in meaningful discussions about the issues, will help prevent some of this from happening and, when it does happen, put people in the position where they have confidence they will not suffer worse consequences by virtue of coming forward, whether they themselves are the victim or perhaps a bystander.

HOBSON: Biddy Martin, if there's another college president listening to this somewhere in the country, what would your advice be to them about handling this problem?

MARTIN: Look it right in the face. Be open about where our shortcomings are and what needs to be changed. Listen to our students and make the changes that are necessary, knowing that perfection is not possible in anything but that that should be our aspiration.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HOBSON: Biddy Martin is president of Amherst College in Massachusetts. Thank you so much for joining us.

MARTIN: Thank you for having me.

HOBSON: And as I said, a complex problem, no easy solutions. We would love to hear your thoughts about what we've just heard. What do you think should be done about sexual assault on college campuses? What is the core of the problem? Maybe your school has a good solution. You can go to hereandnow.org right now and leave a comment.

You can also join the conversation on Facebook.com/hereandnowradio.

YOUNG: And you can always tweet your thoughts @hereandnow, @jeremyhobson, @hereandnowrobin. Love to hear from you. Latest news is next, HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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  • Liz

    A systematic approach from universities is imperative to intervening a systemic problem.  While my university’s police, administrators and Women’s Resource Center had a regimented approach for s supporting survivors, there was a lack of intervention in the behavior of the assaulter, like the repeat offender mentioned in this story. This is not only a campus problem but a wide spread cultural problem.

    • Daveevad1

      Liz, the behavioral intervention needs to be by the Department of Corrections.  The perpetrators belong in prison.

      • Counselor/Advocate

        Although the criminal justice system should be dependable for prosecuting rapists, unfortunately most cases don’t make it past the District Attorney. Many DA’s reject cases even when there is physical evidence gathered by a forensic exam. Ultimately, factoring in vast underreporting of assault, only around 3% of rapists will ever serve jail time http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates Schools can also play a  slightly different role in such processes by being able to separate reported perpetrators from campus more quickly than waiting on law enforcement investigations to be completed (temporary, supervised housing and/or on campus restraining/no contact orders). There are multiple layers to the issues of reporting and not reporting rape but it seems neither the collegiate adjudication process nor the greater criminal justice system is effectively keeping communities (on and off campus) safe from sexual assault.

        • Dave Evad

          This entire system of “supervised housing” and “campus” restraining orders (as opposed to general restraining orders) perpetuates the  expense of the in-loco-parentis system.  The most appropriate and cost effective solution is to get the universities out of the student services business and let them focus on instruction and research.

          • http://www.facebook.com/irenesee777 Irene Cardenas

             I don’t want to wedge individuals from organizations. It’d be most effective to oust predatory behavior from every organization predators are hiding in — and to let people clear up mental disharmony pretty much wherever it is. This has been generally possible for 10 years now with the brain technology I mentioned below, but conventional mental health professionals haven’t been using it. Predators benefit as long as people do what they’re paid to do, even if it’s not most effective.

          • Dave Evad

            My point is that organizations should be nothing more than student-organized, and that the universities should be out of that business as well as housing, food service, entertainment, athletics, and anything else that doesn’t involve instruction and research.

            Students should be free to organize whatever activities they wish within the law without institutional support.  And any illegal activities – drugs, rape, whatever – should be enforced as they would for anyone else, without the Deans of Students getting involved at all.

          • http://www.facebook.com/irenesee777 Irene Cardenas

            Whoever organizes activities, problems occur when there are people with predatory brain patterns involved. These people exist off-campus in the private sector as well. They exist among students and among faculty. More well-connected brains function better. They’re more aware and can detect predators better. So, to protect people from rape, the priority should be enabling brains to function best. The most effective approach to solving problems is the one that has the most support. People will differ on who should coordinate which activities, but pretty much everyone supports getting people with predatory brain patterns out of there. No one can even speak up against this goal – that’s how much social momentum it has. What unites people the most overcomes what divides them. Predators divide people from the most social support possible, but well-connected brains are united within themselves and to each other.

  • Mary

    I am a survivor of campus rape.  At the time I was too confused and ashamed to report the attack, I didn’t know that I had Title IX rights.  I had no idea that I was protected and deserved to remain on campus every bit as much as my assailants. Though I left the school, I have since told the university of my assault and am adement about raising awareness of the flawed system to prevent assaults.  I cannot even describe how grateful I am for sensitivity, courage, insight, and awareness NPR is bringing to this issue.  Every fourth woman on a college campus meets this same fate, it’s taken four years for me to be able to tell my story without weeping, this is not something we can gloss over any longer.  The best higher education system in the world is failing a huge percentage of its students.  

    • Daveevad1

      Mary, I am sorry to hear about your experience.

      However, “campus rape” is RAPE, no more and no less.  The perpetrator belongs in prison, and the civil authorities should be the ones putting him there.

  • Daveevad1

    I see a double standard on state university campuses between students who live on campus (with extensive rules and staff supervision) and those who live off campus, who are treated as on their own.  In my experience teaching at the college level (and as a parent of two college students) I don’t see a significant difference in the level of maturity or development of students in either situation.

    Small private colleges like Amherst may have the luxury to provide high levels of student supervision.  For students in taxpayer-funded institutions, the fairest approach would be to stop operating in loco parentis completely, and let civil authorities deal with crime on and off campus.  Students who aren’t ready to function in this context don’t belong in a university setting in any event.

  • Andrea Lynch

    I got into my car for only the last few minutes of this program, which provided me with a unique perspective. I heard John Lauerman talk about how young women are still hesitant to press charges for rape and then mention that colleges are hesitant to expell those accused of rape for fear of being sued. This is exactly where the problem lies – in the same place it has lain for hundreds of years. All women should be told at their Freshman Orientation that rape WILL NOT BE TOLERATED and that they will be supported fully in reporting incidents and bringing charges against their attacker. All male students should be told that they will be expelled immediately if they exhibit this type of criminal behavior.

  • Walt Moyer

    TRY TELLING THE RAPISTS IN PRISONS ALL OVER THE NATION THAT THEIR CRIME WAS ”MISCONDUCT”, I’M SHOCKED THAT THE PRESIDENT OF A COLLEGE IN THIS COUNTRY WOULD REFER TO IT AS THAT . IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IT FOR THE CRIME IT IS , MAYBE YOU’RE NOT READY OR QUALIFIED FOR THIS POSITION THAT YOU NOW HOLD. THOSE STUDENTS PERPETRATING THIS COURSE OF CONDUCT SHOULD BE CHARGED BY THE POLICE , AS NOT EVIDENT TO YOU,IT IS  A CRIME.

  • http://www.facebook.com/irenesee777 Irene Cardenas

    I reported rape to Stanford University. It’s its own municipality, with its own police. So, many predators can be alums who help fund the police’s payer. The predators were male fraternity members and their friends. I was told they probably slipped me a drug. There were several incidents where I came to consciousness afterwards, on the floor, with men over me. These serial predators do this year after year to woman after woman.

    Police investigate in ways that let predators go. Women who’ve been taken into a druggie predator culture have been wedged from police. They often hesitate to open up to police about drug use, naturally. Then police act like the justice system isn’t made to correct their predators or injuries. I had a bipolar diagnosis (which was later cleared). Even the nation’s mental health director has said the DSM lacks validity. I was treated like I wanted to have sex in situations I didn’t. Even victim advocates treated me like that, placing me in an intensely unhealthy social situation (their problem), but making it out to be a problem in me. This has been ongoing for a decade, ruining the health of my connections to references for jobs.

    Justice would be served if mental states were measured, and corrected, objectively. The company that reportedly has the world’s largest database of brainwave patterns knows what a pedophile’s brain is like: http://www.brainstatetech.com/blog/penn-state-and-pedophilia-lee-gerdes-explains-how-brain-drives-behavior
    The technology can rather quickly correct trauma (disharmonious patterns) by reinforcing one’s harmonious patterns until they predominate. If social organizations offered this technology first, victims could report with proof they speak from well-ordered minds. There’s the way. Where’s the social will, if so many organizations are full of people without disharmonious or predatory brain patterns?

    • Dave Evad

      What you’re saying is that the University’s fraternity system and internal law/regulation enforcement system facilitate rape.

      Get the universities out of this business.  The only reason the Universities need to do any security work is to enforce order in classrooms and safeguard University property – the same as any private business.  Housing, food service, and social activities should be outside the purview of the University – and students should understand that, like anywhere else in the world except college, life is at your own risk.

      • http://www.facebook.com/irenesee777 Irene Cardenas

        Nice to get a reply, Dave. I agree the conflict of interest should be dismantled. Some areas of college life are out-of-control because a natural range of ages and experiences aren’t present. But I’ve also spoken to off-campus police and counselors about several incidents, as I was left unprotected from a very early age. In general, they all let predators go and question victims’ accounts more than necessary. They often underestimate victims’ level of mental health. They focus on mental disorder, but reflecting back one’s mental order actually overcomes symptoms. Brain technology can already do this, and can prove who has more disharmony. Yet many social organizations fit in with existing professional conventions, rather than prioritizing the best
        corrections. They don’t care as effectively as possible – probably because their brains aren’t optimized, as just about everyone could improve. If this technology was in widespread use, almost everyone impacted by the predators I couldn’t stop previously would now be protected.

      • Justin Wallace

        Are suggesting that universities get out of the business of housing their students or just the fraternity system?  The issue is enforcement of the existing laws.  Yes, rape cases often revolve around the perfunctory “she said – he said” issue, but the real problem, as mentioned in many of the previous posts is the condoning attitude of the authorities. 

        • Dave Evad

          Yes, the universities – especially government funded ones – should absolutely be out of the business of housing, feeding, and nannying their students.  If they can’t survive on their own they need to stay at home until they grow up.

  • Sorceress

    I am really upset by the statement made by John Lauerman, ‘Women don’t want to see anyone go to jail, they just don’t want to have to look every day at the guy who raped them.’  How many levels of crazy is that statement?  I suggest the women would love to have the man go to jail, but they don’t have the courage to deal with the abuse from the administration and court system as they defend themselves a second time.
    Don’t want to see anyone go to jail?  Really?  Is that because good girls don’t make waves? 

    • http://www.facebook.com/irenesee777 Irene Cardenas

       Actually, I often lack more social support because I differ from many victims in that I just want predatory brain patterns corrected. If this can be done without jail or with minimal jail, it is OK with me. The purpose of law enforcement is corrections, and protecting people is a healthy motivation. Corrected brains no longer have predatory patterns, so they are no longer hurting themselves or others through those unhealthy patterns. Without these corrections, convicts often re-offend, so people are still unprotected – in jail or out of it. The unhealthy patterns that lead to unhealthy social interactions were corrected by brain technology in convicts with violent histories: http://www.brainstatetech.com/resources/case-studies/results-nevada-prison-demonstration-using-brainwave-optimization
      I’m willing to make waves if it leads to corrections reform, because the more healthy waves, the better the protection!

  • Wldurley

    Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll and the problem of 18 year old ‘adults’ who want the privileges  but not the culpability associated with adulthood while in college.

    Back in the day, when one wasn’t considered an adult until one was 21, the problem of how to treat students on campus was less complex: the students were perhaps ‘young adults’ but they weren’t ‘legal adults’ and the colleges were ‘in loco parentis.’ One sort of entered a noman’s land of ‘campus suspension of many of the rules of society’: Yes, alcohol and drugs were illegal, but hey, they are ‘just kids;’ it isn’t like they can be expected to be judged by the same rules as adults so we’ll deal with these in-house; yes, pawing girls, or worse, when drunk or they are drunk could land you in jail on the outside but hey, they’re just kids and we’ll deal with it in-house: we wouldn’t want to ruin their lives for some ‘youthful hijinks.’  And if things got really out of hand one could expel without threat of lawsuit: parents, and more importantly the courts, for the most part,  got the point that the schools were acting in their stead and let them.

      Things should be clearer now: with the sole exception of alcohol, if they are 18 they are legally adults and the college really has no business being ‘in loco parentis’… except that everyone, the student most particularly, still wants the colleges stepping in between the students and the enforcement of laws that govern adults on the outside. And it’s not just the 18/21 drinking issue where students want to be considered adults… except with a college generated ‘pass.’

    Your interviewer touched on how mixed we as a society still are on whether or not these are adults when he expressed surprise that these sexual assault/rape charges were not simply turned over to the police. His interlocutors all  hemmed and hawed and talked about how ‘sensitive’ the issue of turning over students to the authorities is.  Well, only if one doesn’t want to quite treat them as adults. And alcohol and drugs and yes sex offenses are exactly what most student want a ‘pass’ on enforcement while they are in college. Yes, alcohol consumption by 20 year olds is illegal but… not really on  most college campuses. Drugs? Any student who doesn’t know where he or she can score with virtually no chance of detection because the authorites don’t want to know is beyond dense. Campus Police… oops Campus Safety Officers… are at pains on virtually every one of the over 100 campuses I have visited  to explain they are not there ‘to enforce rules’ but ‘to keep students safe’… often from other authorities who are usually not welcome on campus: call us, no questions asked, we’ll take you back to your dorm… and protect you from the normal ‘adult’ consequences of your actions. Why should we be surprised that students  think that they should also get a pass on sexual transgressions?

  • Catherine Thiemann

    Thank you, Biddy Martin, for listening to survivors of sexual misconduct, a rare action in any environment. I survived misconduct not in college but in my former church, where the leaders deliberately closed their ears to my voice once they had closed the case.

    As survivors, we need to know that we are heard. But more important than that, you (the leaders of institutions) need to hear us. If you want to create a robust process that inspires victims with confidence, you need our voices, our stories, and our wisdom.
    I salute your courage and integrity. I applaud you for setting such a fine example. You give me the priceless gift of hope.

  • Cooperrp

    Allow concealed carry on campus.  Criminals prefer unarmed victims.

  • Bonnietosi

    I am very upset by Here and Now.  The reporters seem very inexperienced, and it follows that the interviews are flat.  I love NPR, I don’t feel I’m listening to it during Here and Now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    they should demand that their schools add a ladies pistol team

  • KCDKC

    Why is it so hard to call a crime a crime?  Especially in Boston, one of the key cities for the whole Catholic child abuse scandal, why do we still tolerate institutions other than the legal system deciding which crimes should be reported?  It didn’t work with priests and it doesn’t work with college administrators.  These people have agendas that include protecting their institution.  First and foremost this is a CRIME.  Deal with the crime first.  You don’t have to worry about seeing the guy who raped you everyday if he’s in prison.

  • TimFairweather

    I had a question on the statistics
    given, specifically the quote of “1 in 4 of all women in college
    will be sexually assaulted during their time spent in school.” Do
    these numbers involved with putting this statistic together include
    all women who were legally drunk at the time of sexual contact? In
    other words, if her BAC is above a certain legal level, is sexual
    contact at that point considered rape? Or do these numbers represent
    only conditions where the women was unconscious or resisting the
    assault?

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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September 11 Comment

Dennis Lehane Takes ‘The Drop’ From Screen To Page

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