Students and Schools Speaking Up, Taking Action

Quickly wanted to highlight some positive steps coming out of a number of schools this week, some in response to the CPI work and some not.

A male columnist at UMass’ Daily Collegian newspaper reflects with anger on the information brought to light in CPI’s report on UMass, and calls on men to stop sexual violence. Choice policy-related quote:

You’ll notice in our Student Code of Conduct – if you’ve ever read it – that the “Appliance Guidelines” are about half a page. You know, stuff like unplugging your refrigerators over break. Sexual assault? One sentence. Rape? Nothing. It seems like UMass cares more about its furniture policy than about educating men and women about rape. The very day the Boston Globe article and subsequent Collegian coverage came out, UMass students got an e-mail from Housing and Residence Life reminding us about the “Fire safety Policy Compliance Advisory.” Seriously? How about e-mail reminders to all the men on campus that rape is illegal? Plagiarism is not illegal in American law, but I can get expelled for that. Rape is illegal, but I can still graduate with honors.

At the University of Maryland, a University Senate committee is “compiling a report to document the issue of rape at the university” after realizing how how the statistics are. In 2008, UMD recorded 17 incidents of “forcible sexual offenses.” 17…reported.

A writer from the University of Arizona’s Daily Wildcat responds to a column in last week’s Daily Princetonian (out of Princeton University) where a female student said of her friend who claims to have been sexually assaulted:

We all know that the more people drink, the less likely they are to make wise decisions. It is common sense. Therefore, the girl willingly got herself into a state in which she could not act rationally. This, in my opinion, is equivalent to agreeing to anything that might happen to her while in this state. In the case of our girl, this happened to be sex with a stranger.

Students at the University of Louisville are lobbying the university senate to “approve a bill that would expand domestic-violence protections to people in dating relationships.”

One of the last pieces related to the CPI report published last week was an investigation out of Wisconsin focusing on UW-Madison. UW-M’s PAVE (Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment) released what I thought was a pretty respectful response including:

Despite all well-intentioned efforts to meet the needs of victims, at times, as demonstrated in the CPI report, these services may not meet victims’ needs or expectations. In these unfortunate instances, it is important to acknowledge victims’ experiences and to utilize their feedback as a means to continually evaluate the effectiveness of current services. While there are challenges that need to be resolved to address sexual assaults, we, as a campus community, are ultimately responsible for preventing these crimes and for holding perpetrators accountable. PAVE and its campus partners will continue to work together to implement the most effective preventative and educational measures and to support victims on this campus.

Keep it up!

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