Rape on the Campus by Zoë Heller [New York Review of Books]
"Few would disagree that the systems for preventing and prosecuting sexual assault on US campuses are in need of change. But the efficacy and fairness of recent reforms that focus on making college grievance procedures more favorable to complainants and on codifying strict new definitions of sexual consent remain highly questionable."
Dalhousie Dental School is embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal. A group of about a dozen seniors known as the DDS 2015 Gentlemen's Club have been posting crude jokes about sexual violence and female subjugation in a closed Facebook group, targeting female students and including jokes about using dental anesthetic as a rape drug. The administrations choice to go with a restorative justice approach has not been met with much approval. Dalhousie is still trying to recover from it's last sexual violence scandal not that long ago.
With the war in Iraq winding down, colleges are are stocking up on surplus military equipment of all kinds at bargain prices from the Department of Defense. As two schools in Louisiana each receive a dozen M-16 weapons, the newspaper asks, "Is this a good idea?"
Emma Sulkowicz is a student at Columbia University; she was raped by a fellow student during her sophomore year, and is one of 23 Columbia and Barnard students who filed a federal Title IX complaint in April alleging that the university mishandled sexual assault cases. Now a senior, Emma plans on carrying an extra-long, twin-size mattress across the quad and through each New York City building – to every class, every day – until the man she says raped her moves off campus, as her senior art thesis, "Carry That Weight" [more inside]
"Every year Playboy releases the ultimate guide to campus life: our infamous party school list. Over the years, it has been brought to our attention that some of our long-standing party picks have a not-so-toast-worthy, rape-ridden side to their campus life. Somewhere in the countless hours we spent tallying up co-eds and scoring beer pong, we lost track of the most essential element of the Playboy lifestyle: sexual pleasure. Rape is kryptonite to sexual pleasure. The two cannot co-exist. For our revised party guide to live up to our founder’s vision, we had to put a new criterion on top. Namely, consent. In other words… A good college party is all about everyone having a good time. Consent is all about everyone having a good time. Rape is only a good time if you’re a rapist. And fuck those people. In our new found light, we proudly present to you Playboy’s 2013 Top Ten Party Commandments, the ultimate guide for a consensual good time." Or did they,
College students across the country conspired to promote consent: the story behind yesterday’s Playboy hoax.[more inside]
The Inside Story Of The Feminists Who Fooled Us Into Thinking Playboy Cared About Consent
Earlier this week, Shane Windmeyer of Campus Pride made news with an article about his friendship with Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A: "Dan and Me: My Coming Out as a Friend of Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A". [more inside]
"Under Title IX, a woman is entitled to equal access to everything on a college campus. That includes being safe."
In response to campus advocates and new directives from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, Stanford University has lowered the evidence standard for cases of sexual misconduct from "beyond a reasonable doubt" to a "preponderance of the evidence". This move, which applied immediately and took effect during then on-going proceedings, was met with praise from students("If the new Standard of Proof bothers you, there’s an easy solution: don’t sexually assault people"), but has proved controversial among civil liberties organizations ("a shocking disregard for fair procedures on campus"), academic scholars ("a declaration of martial law against men...and a betrayal of the Title IX equity law"), and alumni ("The President’s recent decision is all the proof I need to know that the University shows little respect for the rights of students"). [more inside]
The confluence of neoliberalism and neoconservatism allows white students one last chance to party like it’s 1899.
Although not a new phenomenon, it seems that over the last year “ghetto,” “gangsta,” “south of the border” and “taco and tequila” parties have become college chic and cool. Parties at more than a dozen colleges and universities received national coverage in the past year, with countless others going unnoticed save for the pictures posted to sundry websites. It is tempting to interpret such events as clichéd racist expressions. They are, after all, contemporary minstrel theaters that allow middle- and upper-class white Americans to cross moral and social boundaries by racial crossdressing. But such easy explanations keep us from fully appreciating the circumstances on today’s college campus that make minstrel parties pleasing and powerful for so many.
A glimpse into the "Ivory Tower" - The online community at Swarthmore College is abuzz with reflections, debates, insults and demands for revenge prompted by the recent tragedies. After being physically threatened by a member of my college community after commenting that I thought that the Netherlands was a more "free" nation than the US, I've stopped going to the site myself; however, a look at the forum may demonstrate that such reactionary thought isn't limited to "middle America" or the "unenlightened," as some intellectual snobs/idealists seem to think. (Swarthmore was tied with Amherst as the number one liberal arts college in the country according to U.S. World and News Report.)