FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The New Sexual Assault Climate Survey Recommendation

by

In April 2014, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault issued a series of recommendations for college and university campuses related to responding to and preventing sexual assault. Given that one in five college-aged women endure a sexual assault, the White House is to be applauded for prioritizing this issue and for organizing the task force. But of course, it should be so simple to recommend that campuses do the right thing.

One of the first recommendations, and one that the group is pushing to become a legal mandate in 2016, is that schools undertake a campus-wide climate survey. The goal is to assess the true degree to which attempted and actual sexual assaults are occurring, given that this remains among the most under-reported crimes, as well as to better understand students’ experiences with reporting and receiving services. It would seem as though there would be little opposition to such a recommendation, as clearly understanding the scope of this huge problem and identifying gaps in services would be a good idea for college or university administrators. Yet immediately many campus officials responded negatively. Why, one wonders?

The primary concern that campus administrators levied was that this would be an unfunded mandate that would require additional staff. That is, in my assessment, a very weak point, but one that reflects a growing problem on campuses: the need to bureaucratize everything. For instance, in an interview for the Huffington Post, Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, stated “We get very concerned about legislation that requires additional staffing.” Nowhere in the recommendation does it actually state that new personnel would be required, however.

Kruger’s comment is indicative of the administrative bloat that characterizes higher education today. The first instinct of so many campuses is to hire new administrators to oversee required or even recommended programs. A report by the Delta Cost Project titled “Labor Intensive or Labor Expensive: Changing Staffing and Compensation Patterns in Higher Education” found that, between 2000 and 2012, new administrative positions, largely in student services, was the reason for a 28 percent increase in the higher education workforce. Administrative bloat has been cited as one of the primary reasons that the cost of obtaining a college education has outpaced the increases in healthcare and housing costs. A 2010 study by the Goldwater Institute found that administrative ranks grew twice as much as did the number of faculty between 1993 and 2007. It’s not just new staff, either. Colleges and universities love to hire consultants to study every possible thing, often at huge expense and little return.

Instead of hiring new staff or consultants, campuses could look to utilize their faculty who have expertise on sexual assault to coordinate climate assessment surveys. This would be beneficial for many reasons, not just for the bottom line. First, it is likely that most campuses have a number of faculty members who really know this issue well and who would be eager to be involved in bettering their campuses’ understanding of and response to sexual assault. Second, faculty could involve student researchers, who not only would have valuable insights about the issue but would gain important research, advocacy, and leadership skills through their involvement in the process. Third, using knowledgeable faculty and student researchers would ensure that the tools created and recommendations made were most appropriate for that specific campus, not simply a generic effort. Finally, keeping the research in house would demonstrate a real commitment to understanding sexual assault and developing unique and progressive responses and prevention efforts. In contrast, hiring another person or consultant to collect this important information suggests that administrators merely want to do what is required, rather than what is, as Vice President Joe Biden called it, a moral responsibility.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology. Her column is syndicated by Peace Voice.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.

More articles by:
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
Andrew Levine
Why Not Hillary?
Paul Street
Hillary Clinton’s Neocon Resumé
Chris Floyd
Twilight of the Grifter: Bill Clinton’s Fading Powers
Eric Mann
How We Got the Tanks and M-16s Out of LA Schools
Jason Hirthler
The West’s Needless Aggression
Dan Arel
Why Hillary Clinton’s Camp Should Be Scared
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Flunks Decontamination
David Rosen
The Privatization of the Public Sphere
Margaret Kimberley
Obama’s Civil Rights Hypocrisy
Chris Gilbert
Corruption in Latin American Governments
Pete Dolack
We Can Dream, or We Can Organize
Dan Kovalik
Colombia: the Displaced & Invisible Nation
Jeffrey St. Clair
Fat Man Earrings: a Nuclear Parable
Medea Benjamin
Israel and Saudi Arabia: Strange Bedfellows in the New Middle East
Ted Rall
Trump Isn’t Bluffing, He’ll Deport 11 Million People
Kent Paterson
Death in a Shopping Aisle: Jonathan Sorensen’s Fatal Encounter with Kmart
Lisa Sullivan
Venezuela’s Crisis From Up Close
Clancy Sigal
Trump’s Rasputin: What the Donald Learned From Roy Cohn
Manuel E. Yepe
Think Tanks and the US Power Elite
Kathleen Wallace
$25 vs $30, Hats Off to the Two-Party System!
Terry Simons
Mob Politics: the Democrats Have a Problem and It’s Not the Sandernistas
Franklin Lamb
U.S. Financial Regulations Increase Starvation Among Syria’s Children
James Cronin
The Pope and Mercy: the Catholic Church has not Abandoned Its 400 Year War on Science
Linn Washington Jr.
Islamophobia on the Rise in England
Thomas Mountain
25 Years of Struggle Building Socialism in Eritrea; Fighting the Cancer of Corruption
David Wilson
Who Speaks for the Refugee Children of Calais?
Michael Welton
Terry Eagleton: the Cheeky Marxist
David Mattson
Disserving the Public Trust: the Despotic Future of Grizzly Bear Management
Rick Sterling
Bernie Comes to Vallejo
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail