Reading Between The Lines Of College Sexual Harassment PolicyApril 12, 2011 1 Comment
The golden rule in universities is the bottom line. While they say they’re hoping to educate the leaders of tomorrow, they’re willing to give diplomas to the scum-bags of today as long as the tuition cheque arrives on time. However, a wave of sexual harassment complaints in colleges across America is suddenly making ignoring this behaviour more expensive than ever before.
The student accounts behind the the 26-page Title IX Complaint Against Yale filed on March 31st are abhorrent. Between the offensive fraternity pledges chanting “No means Yes, Yes means Anal” all over campus and the ranking of freshmen women on a scale of “I would have sex with you sober” to “I would have sex with you only blackout drunk,” it’s unbelievable to see that these acts have not been addressed more assertively.
Four days after the complaint was filed, at the University of New Hampshire, Vice President Joe Biden reaffirmed the government stance against sexual assault and called for a tougher pursuit of those who perpetrate it. Government recognition of the problem is a step in the right direction, but the problem has been going on much longer and it’s disturbing that the harsh facts detailing the abundance of sexual assault on college women are only coming out because they are publicly affecting the population of an elite university.
Here is the problem: according to the Department of Education, 20 percent of college women will be victims of rape or sexual assault. A National Institute of Justice study revealed some 25 percent of American college males admitted to some type of sexual coercion. And in the early 1990′s, Toby Smith, who is currently the director of the Gertrude Meth Hochberg Women’s Center at Bryant University, conducted a survey where she found that one of the top reasons why female students transferred into Brown University — where she worked at the time — was because they had been sexually assaulted on their campus.
Universities are perturbingly lenient to the men found guilty of sexual assault. In her column, “Why is sexual assault on campus tolerated?” Toby Simon says that schools often propose “sweetheart deals” for men found guilty of sexual assault that consist of allowing them to withdraw from the school without any note of their misconduct on their transcript. Some even get help from the university in applying to other schools. And according to the Yale Daily News, the president of American University in Washington D.C recently refused to sign off on a proposal for a grant that would give the school $300,000 to create programs to prevent and deal with cases of sexual assault.
But government action is only starting now. Let’s hope it doesn’t stop with Yale’s case; Harvard Law School, Hofstra University in New York and the University of Virginia are currently being investigated by the Office of Civil Rights for handling of sexual assaults complaints in a way that could let the perpetrator get away with it.
Allowing students to be verbally and physically assaulted on a daily basis isn’t just bad policy, it’s also becoming an expensive one. As these investigations hit the papers and sterling reputations become tarnished, it’ll be the colleges who care about their students who attract them, and that hefty tuition cheque.
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