Home Integrity How Safe is Campus? It Depends on the Attitude of the Administration

How Safe is Campus? It Depends on the Attitude of the Administration


It's the American dream: Child graduates from high school, is accepted to college of choice, and heads out with unbridled optimism to conquer the world of higher education.

Yet, according to statistics compiled by Know Your IX, there are probabilities that certain things will happen:

  • 17 to 19 percent of women will be sexually assaulted. 84 percent of these will be assaulted within the first year.
  • 5 to 6 percent of men will be sexually assaulted.
  • The average number of rapes committed by perpetrators not identified and caught is six each.
  • If you're still contemplating the validity of the "legitimate rape" dodge, only 2 to 10 percent of reports are false.

How does law enforcement respond from the victim's perspective? Well, pretty much like this:

-- Of victims who have called the cops, 2 in 3 were afraid to call the police in the future.
-- Only 1 in 5 victims actually felt safer after calling the police, and 1 in 3 victims felt less safe.
-- Of victims who have called the cops, nearly half felt police discriminated against them.
-- Of victims who have called the cops, 1 in 4 report being arrested or threatened with arrest.

That's not a situation that demonstrates honor to the EDM profession, or ethical and moral commitment to the protection of the served public.

So let's examine some examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good

Baylor University was a little late to the party. Even though they initially made a reflexive attempt to protect the institution, over time they decided to do the right thing, which ultimately involved removing the football coach and demoting the university president. The university also brought in a rape victim to address the university football team.

The bad

Oregon State University was even later to the party. It also reflexively acted to protect the university, and hoped the level of denial they applied to the situation would hold. However, after sixteen years (SIXTEEN YEARS!!) of denial, the university president finally apologized for the university's misconduct during the event. Worthy of note, the football coach and the university president kept their jobs.

The ugly

Kansas State University has never arrived at the party. Instead, they applied the ultimate dodge -- it didn't occur on campus, so they couldn't care less. The background: Two students that alleged that they were raped in fraternity houses have had no success in convincing the university to investigate, much less prosecute, sanction, or revoke the licenses of the fraternities involved.

Rather, the university stonewalled their denial position until federal lawsuits were filed to require them to take responsibility for their inactions. Whether they will ultimately take responsibility for their inactions remains to be seen.

Again, worthy of note is that the university president was promoted from president of Kansas State to president of Washington State, with an approximate $200,000 salary increase. Denial can reap rewards.

What this means to you as a parent

Our federal government is doing what it can. That's limited in effectiveness.

Effectiveness begins at the local level, with parents insisting that their children be kept safe, law enforcement insisting that reported cases be investigated and prosecuted, and university officials being held accountable for events that occur during their watch - -both on and off campus. So, in an evaluation of a college for your child, ask these questions:

  • How many sexual assaults have been reported?
  • How many of those victims have found their lives destroyed by university denial?
  • How many of those allegations have been prosecuted?
  • If there have been sexual assault events, how many of the officials present at the time have been sanctioned? How many have been promoted?

These are questions that every caring parent should be considering when they guide their child through higher education -- the final hurdle to adulthood. We as parents should tolerate no excuses for the failure of the institution--and the institutions, if they wish to retain ethical and moral legitimacy for the protection of our children, should tolerate NO circumstances where there has been no planning for the protection of children, where circumstances are not mitigated to protect our children, and where children are unnecessarily injured under their watch.

Please DO make denial intolerable. Please DO hold officials to account. That will be a sign that our society is still working to mature in the way that we deserve and are entitled to expect.

Randall Cuthbert Dr. Randall Cuthbert is a retired APUS Professor of Emergency & Disaster Management. He has also worked as a Red Cross Shelter Supervisor, and spent a 20-year career as a US Air Force Civil Engineer Officer. His blogging interests include: protecting & enhancing the EDM profession in the areas of integrity, honorable public service, and social justice; education regarding the 'big picture' role of EDM in our society; educating our professionals and neighbors with regard to the greatest threat to our civilization--climate change; and in general terms, creating a better world for our children and grandchildren.