Campus News Round-Up (Student Newsaper Edition!)

A student at the University of Maryland used the Yale fraternity situation to take to her school’s newspaper and encourage her peers to think about how their language influences their behavior. Right on, Andrea: Our language cements destructive and outdated gender norms, which dictate that sex is a commodity women keep from men and a woman’s decision to have multiple partners makes her less valuable.”

A PAVE member over at UW-Madison wrote a great piece for the school’s newspaper about how complicated abusive relationships can be and why it’s important for friends to be supportive, rather than judgmental. And speaking of dating violence, the University of Mary Washington is launching a dating violence awareness campaign this month. It’s exciting to see some momentum around the issue, because we’ve noticed that very few schools address dating violence at any kind of institutional level.

Earlham College had “Positive Sexuality Week” on campus last week, which I think is a great way to re-frame what had traditionally been “sexual violence awareness week.” The week’s events were run by the student group Action Against Sexual Violence, and included an awesome-sounding student forum where folks discussed:

[I]ssues like gender and assumptions about perpetrators and survivors of sexual violence and assumptions about parties and “hooking up”. There was also discussion of the administration’s response to sexual assault. Students who spoke disagreed about the level or quality of support they thought the administration provided. Students also commented on the lack of student initiative and how this might impact the attitude or actions of school administration.

This is kind of interesting. When I posted my last Campus Round-Up over at Feministing Campus, a commenter pointed out the lack of gender diversity in the Dartmouth “Short Answer” feature which asked a group of students to weigh in on whether or not the school should be more active in addressing sexual assault. So this week, The Dartmouth opinion staff posed a question to their peers about whether professors had any place in the conversation about campus alcohol and sexual misconduct, and I was looking at the names. And yeah, 9 of the 10 students interviewed had names generally identified as male (Samuel, Jonathan, etc). What’s up with that? Not exactly representative of the student body, huh?

Buried in this article about how to address campus alcohol violations in the College of William and Mary’s school paper  is a great quote from an administrator about why they address sexual assault differently than other conduct violations:

“We see sexual violence as an act that deprives a student of control over his or her body or sexuality,” [Assistant Dean of Students] Gilbert said. “We don’t bring the students in and tell them they have to do anything- we provide options. You can do nothing, you can merely report it to the Dean of Students, you can adjudicate it in the conduct process or you can report it to the police.”

Finally, one update: remember that story about how 12 Central Washington University students were hospitalized and it was thought they had been drugged at a party? Turns out they became ill from drinking too much Four Loko, a new “energy” kind of a drink that is 12% alcohol and apparently contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.  23 students at Ramapo College in NY also went to the hospital because of the stuff. Let’s see how long it takes before it gets taken off the market.

Campus News Catch-Up

I’ve been a bit behind the ball on my news round-ups, so there’s a lot to catch up on…

Let’s start off with the good stuff! The students who worked so hard to get a sexual assault policy for the City University of New York system are getting some recognition from the administration. Students for a Greater CUNY recently updated their CUNY Policy Tracker, which was an amazing tool while they ran their campaign. Students currently working on policy change should check it out.

So proud of students at SUNY Geneseo who have, with their staff and admin allies, scheduled a campus-wide sexual assault teach-in in March. How awesome does this sound!?: “The SAT will address both truths and widespread misperceptions about campus sexual assault. Most importantly, the SAT will promote informed and constructive discussions among faculty, staff, and students that may inspire and inform new programs, policies, and procedures and empower participants to help solve this problem in our community.” We did a training at Geneseo last spring, and it’s really excited to see them moving forward.

There’s a great article in the Skidmore News about the school’s revised sexual assault policy, which goes into effect this month.  This article makes it sound like a lot of amazing improvements were made. And it’s great to read that students were very involved in the entire process.

Wesleyan has created a really excited new position on campus, the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) intern. The SART intern is a student role, and is a “liaison between the administration and students who wish to report sexual assault.” The intern is a completely confidential resource for students—survivors and perpetrators.

Students at Dartmouth are brainstorming about what role the administration should play in combating sexual assault.

I really want to hear the sexual assault presentation given at Texas Tech University—it’s in talk show format, and the counselor who created it, Erin Snyder, sounds pretty great. Case in point: “I think sexual assault is a problem on every college campus…What I do is try to prevent it by giving students information on what is healthy in a sexual relationship.”

On to the (really) bad stuff.  A lot of press space has been given to the terrifying story of a Central Washington University house party that sent 12 students (11 female, one male) to the hospital and left others ill. Students at the party told police and reporters that they thought “roofies” were responsible, either put into a bottle of vodka that was made to make mixed drinks, or put into pre-made party drinks. The police were called by students who had left the party, after their friend was extremely sick. The Police Chief noted that when the police arrived at the house, there were sick students everywhere and no one at the house had decided to call the police. It’s worth mentioning I think that CWU’s sexual assault policy does not have an explicit amnesty policy stating that students who report assaults won’t be penalized for something like underage drinking. This is a good example of why it’s important for students to know they have that protection.

Amanda Hess wrote a really good piece on the 11 DAYS is took the University of Virginia to alert students to the sexual assault of a student who was attacked while walking home.  UVA should really know now about the importance of timely intervention. This isn’t acceptable.

Apparently the University of Illinois still hands out rape whistles.

Ms. Blog and Shakesville have both covered the distressing case of the Michigan State University basketball players who were accused of rape but are not being charged with rape, despite the fact that one of them admitted to investigators that the victim didn’t want to have sex. In response, a number of students have formed a Coalition Against Sexual Violence on campus.

Finally, last week I wrote about how within three weeks at the University of Minnesota three women reported assaults at three different frat parties. The school frats responded by banning alcohol at frat parties for the immediate future. Since then, the school paper has been the site of some interesting discussion, about a poor editorial choice in publishing a cartoon about the assaults and the need to fight the real causes of sexual violence.