For this week’s roundup we have three stories about the latest in substance abuse and sexual violence prevention efforts.
Today President Obama and Vice President Biden announced a new campaign intended to encourage bystander intervention preventing sexual assault on college campuses. The campaign, called “It’s On Us,” is intended for all students, but is particularly focused on men. Research suggests that although the majority of college-aged men disapprove of sexual assault and sexual violence, they may be reluctant to speak out against it due to the mistaken belief that their peers will disagree. “It’s On Us” will attempt to dispel that belief. The campaign will be promoted on its website, social media and through partnerships with colleges, organizations, and private parties.
In June, Read More
Several times a year the media reacts to a prominent comedian making a rape joke that trivializes the crime, or worse, blames the victim. Public defenses for such jokes range from “it’s just comedy” to “dark humor releases pain.” The latter may be a legitimate defense in certain cases when the joke critiques the power structure instead of the victim. Unfortunately, these stories rarely provoke a productive discussion around these issues.
But when a story turns the idea of a rape joke on its head and forces the listener to confront an otherwise hidden element that perpetuates rape culture, it is no longer just a joke but an act of social justice.
This sharp and moving monologue by comedic writer and performer Andrew Bailey is the kind of rape “joke” that affirms instead of belittles the experiences of survivors. By interweaving the concept of rape jokes, the brittle demands of masculinity, and Read More
Substance abuse is a persistent problem on college campuses. What role does brain chemistry play in young people’s vulnerability to alcohol and other drugs? These two articles suggest some answers.
What is it that drives some college students to drink to excess again and again and again? This piece from NPR explains that there are multiple factors driving college binge drinking. One is brain chemistry. College-aged brains are still developing, so while the part of the brain that seeks reward and stimulation is fully mature by the time 18 year olds begin their freshman year, the bits that control impulsive behavior still have a ways to go. This imbalance is what makes taking too many shots or playing drinking games seem so appealing. The other big factor may seem more obvious, but is also more controllable. The lower the Read More
Today we’re announcing the launch of Think About It for graduate students!
We’ve spent the last several months developing this course to address the unique needs and situation of graduate students. Refined and informed through focus groups with graduate students and roundtables with administrators, the course has a clean, professional look that appeals to older students. And at one hour, it’s streamlined while still covering all the important compliance and prevention issues, including consent, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking.
The course also covers bystander intervention in great depth. We begin by laying a high-level conceptual foundation for intervention, introducing ideas such Read More
Just this year the Department of Education released guidance making Title IX protections for transgender and gender non-conforming students explicit. The move came on the heels of years of controversy surrounding the treatment of transgender students, on topics such as housing, bathroom use, and even disciplinary actions. Here are three recent stories about policy changes, federal exemptions, and the challenges faced by transgender and gender non-conforming students.
Several traditionally all-female colleges have changed their policies to make them more officially welcoming to transgender and non-gender conforming applicants and students. Mills College, an all-female university in the San Francisco Bay Area, recently changed school policy to officially reflect the long-time practice of accepting self-identified females who are “transgender or gender fluid.” Transgender male students who transition while attending Mills will be welcome to stay on. Similarly, Mount Holyoke College announced a change to Read More
Survivors don’t always act the way we expect. For example, they may exhibit a flat affect or have trouble remembering events. Some officials find these reactions suspicious and as a result question the credibility of the survivor’s account. But the survivor’s reactions may be the result of the trauma of a sexual assault.
Training your campus community on the effects of trauma can help dispel these misconceptions and create an environment that better supports victim/survivors. Indeed, the OCR’s Title IX FAQ emphasizes the need for schools to educate students and employees on the effects of trauma. The White House’s Not Alone report also highlights the need for better trauma-informed training.
This week we have three stories covering the state, student, and corporate response to the epidemic of sexual violence on college campuses.
Yesterday we covered bills, laws, and developments at the federal level that you should be watching this Fall. However, proposed legislation at the federal level is only a piece of the full picture. Numerous state politicians are making moves to legislate how schools handle sexual violence on campus. This article provides an overview of some of those efforts, including a pair of New Jersey bills, one of which would allow the New Jersey Attorney General to fine schools up to $50,000 for failing to properly respond to sexual assault allegations, as well as California’s “Yes Means Yes” bill, which looks likely to be adopted in Read More
We know you’re busy preparing your campus for the Fall semester or welcoming students to campus. Over the next few months, however, there are some important developments you should be following. Below is a handy overview.
The Campus SaVE Act Regulations
Yes, the Campus SaVE Act is already law, but the regulations are still being finalized and won’t be released until November.
Signed into law in March of 2013, the Campus SaVE Act amends the Clery Act. It includes three major provisions: it expands the crimes that schools must report in their Annual Security Report; it establishes what should be included in the school’s policies and procedures to address campus sexual assault; and, finally, it mandates extensive “primary prevention and awareness programs” — which include training for students and staff — regarding recovery, reporting, and preventing sexual misconduct and related Read More
The University of San Francisco and Peter Novak, USF’s Vice Provost for Student Life, were recently featured in an article and video from the National Catholic Reporter. The pieces go into detail about Think About It and how USF uses the program.
Vice Provost Novak and USF collaborated (and continue to collaborate) closely with us on developing the Think About It program.
In a recent opinion piece for the San Francisco Chronicle, Novak discussed the challenges schools face in eliminating campus sexual violence and substance abuse and the steps his university is taking to achieve this goal.
“Creating a new culture is the single largest challenge,” Novak writes, “as universities must contend with the many societal norms that have helped to shape students’ expectations of the traditional college experience. We must push ourselves to break new ground in the prevention of Read More
The fight against campus sexual assault isn’t limited to activists and administrators. This week we have stories about how student bystanders, parents, and faculty are joining the fight against sexual assault.
A 2002 study conducted by psychologist David Lisak suggested that a small percentage — 6% — of male college students had committed rape, and two-thirds of those men were repeat offenders. But very few, if any, of those who admitted to predatory behavior considered themselves rapists, even though many of these same students admitted to deliberately getting young women drunk to the point of incapacitation for the explicit purpose of having sex with them. Experts blame this partly on the common misconception that the typical rapist is a stranger who attacks a woman while she is walking alone or in her home, but also on the general unwillingness of the other 94% of young men Read More