Showing posts with label college campus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label college campus. Show all posts

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Dangerous Spaces: Sexual Assault and Other Forms of Violence On and Off Campus

US colleges and universities are often physically unsafe. And there is no sure way to know how dangerous they are.  Incoming students and their families should conduct reasonable steps, talking seriously, and in enough detail, to remain safe on and off college and university campuses.

Cover Ups are the Norm

The US Department of Education keeps formal records of crime on campus, but most crimes, as much as 80 percent, go unreported. Efforts to increase transparency about violence through institutional-level victim surveys have never been required.

Under the previous Trump administration, which sided with predators over victims, formally reported numbers became even more questionable. If Mr. Trump is elected this November, people should expect him to again roll back Department of Education regulations meant to increase transparency and protect crime victims. 

Higher education institutions (and their affiliate organizations) have also been known to systematically cover up crimes, particularly sexual assault. Campus police and campus services may or may not be supportive.  Knowing that a school does not protect students, or that it may even punish victims, ensures that that fewer will report crimes.  The NCAA and Greek governing bodies have also not done enough to reduce predators and prevent students from becoming victims.  

Crimes just off campus are also of concern, especially in off campus housing and fraternities, where alcohol and drugs are readily available and there is a culture of rape and violence--and where serial offenders are protected from prosecution. Hooking up with dating apps can also be dangerous.

Conduct Independent Research

It is estimated that 20 to 25 percent of all female students are victims of violence. Male students are also frequent victims of violence, particularly from other men. Those most vulnerable are (1) women, (2) underclassmen, (3) racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, (4) sorority women, (5) students with disabilities, and (6) students with past histories of sexual victimization. 

Sex crimes include unwanted sexual contact, forcible rape, incapacitated rape, and drug- or alcohol-facilitated rape.   

Elite universities, religious schools, and military service academies are not immune to violence, rape culture, and sexual harassment. Sexual harassment may come not just from fellow students but also faculty and staff. 

Consumers should independently research whether there have been victim surveys at the schools they are planning to attend. Anonymous surveys and criminal lawsuits indicate that the discrepancy between formal reports can be enormous. Consumers may be (and should be) alarmed at some of the victim numbers at America's most respected schools.

Finding little information does not guarantee that the school is safe for students. Especially when institutions value reputation over safety.  

The Talk and Plans to Stay Safe 

Incoming students and their families should discuss how to stay safe on and off campus. This may be a particularly difficult conversation, but one worth discussing in detail. Awareness is essential before and during the college years. Colleges themselves may or may not be supportive. 

Staying away from male athletes, fraternities, and other male-dominated spaces, avoiding places where drugs and alcohol are used, and traveling in safe groups are obvious strategies not just for women, but also for men. But that may still not be enough to avoid being preyed upon.

Related links: 

Campus sexual assault (American Psychological Association)

Effects of sexual victimization on suicidal ideation and behavior in U.S. college women (S. Stepakoff, Suicide Life Threat Behavior, 1998)

Understanding the Predatory Nature of Sexual Violence (Sexual assault Report, David Lisak, 2011)

Article Institution-Specific Victimization Surveys: Addressing Legal and Practical Disincentives
to Gender-Based Violence Reporting on College Campuses (Nancy Chi Cantalupo, Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 2014)

Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action (The White House Council on Women and Girls, 2014).

College sexual assault: 1 in 5 college women say they were violated (Washington Post, 2015)

Education Department withdraws Obama-era campus sexual assault guidance (CNN, 2017)

Measuring campus sexual assault and culture: A systematic review of campus climate surveys (Krause et al., Psychology of Violence, 2018)

Climate Survey On Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct (Association of American Universities, 2019)

Campus-Level Variation in the Prevalence of Student Experiences of Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Violence (C. Moylan, et al, Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 2019)

Preventing College Sexual Victimization by Reducing Hookups: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Personalized Normative Feedback Intervention (M. Testa, et al., Prevention Science, 2020)

After pandemic pause, more incoming college students may face sexual assault risks (PBS News Hour, 2021) 

After Rape Accusations, Fraternities Face Protests and Growing Anger (NY Times, 2021)

Don’t send your daughter to college here: University rankings for sexual assault (Nassir Ghaemi, 2021)

Due Process: A look at USC’s sexual assault culture (Twesha Dikshit, Daily Trojan, 2022)

Colleges rely on honor system when checking sexual assault background of student athletes (USA Today, 2023) 
They ‘broke her’: Family files wrongful death claim against Air Force, alleging academy failed to follow sex assault, suicide policies

Read more at:
Source - Stars and Stripes

They "broke her": family files wrongful death claim against Air Force, alleging academy failed to follow sexual assault, suicide policies (Stars and Stripes, 2023)

They ‘broke her’: Family files wrongful death claim against Air Force, alleging academy failed to follow sex assault, suicide policies

Read more at:
Source - Stars and Stripes
They ‘broke her’: Family files wrongful death claim against Air Force, alleging academy failed to follow sex assault, suicide policies

Read more at:
Source - Stars and Stripes
They ‘broke her’: Family files wrongful death claim against Air Force, alleging academy failed to follow sex assault, suicide policies

Read more at:
Source - Stars and Stripes
They ‘broke her’: Family files wrongful death claim against Air Force, alleging academy failed to follow sex assault, suicide policies

Read more at:
Source - Stars and Stripes
They ‘broke her’: Family files wrongful death claim against Air Force, alleging academy failed to follow sex assault, suicide policies

Read more at:
Source - Stars and Stripes
They ‘broke her’: Family files wrongful death claim against Air Force, alleging academy failed to follow sex assault, suicide policies

Read more at:
Source - Stars and Stripes
They ‘broke her’: Family files wrongful death claim against Air Force, alleging academy failed to follow sex assault, suicide policies

Read more at:
Source - Stars and Stripes
They ‘broke her’: Family files wrongful death claim against Air Force, alleging academy failed to follow sex assault, suicide policies

Read more at:
Source - Stars and Stripes
They ‘broke her’: Family files wrongful death claim against Air Force, alleging academy failed to follow sex assault, suicide policies

Read more at:
Source - Stars and Stripes
Liberty University fined record $14 million for violating campus safety law  (Washington Post, 2024)

Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics (RAINN)

End Rape on Campus 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

College Meltdown 3.0 Could Start Earlier (And End Worse) Than Planned

Chronicling the College Meltdown 

Since 2016, the Higher Education Inquirer has documented the College Meltdown as a series of demographic and business trends leading to lower enrollments and making higher education of decreasing value to working-class and middle-class folks. This despite the commonly-held belief that college is the only way to improve social mobility.  

For more than a dozen years, the College Meltdown has been most visible at for-profit colleges and community colleges, but other non-elite schools and for-profit edtech businesses have also been affected. Some regions, states, and counties have been harder hit than others. Non-elite state universities are becoming increasingly vulnerable

Elite schools, on the other hand, do not need students for revenues, at least in the short run.  They depend more on endowments, donations, real estate, government grants, corporate grants, and other sources of income. Elite schools also have more than enough demand for their product even after receiving bad press.    

The perceived value and highly variable real value of higher education has made college less attractive to many working-class consumers and to an increasing number of middle-class consumers--who see it as a risky proposition. Degrees in the humanities and social sciences are becoming a tough sell. Even some STEM degrees may not be valuable for too long.  Public opinion about higher education and the value of higher education has been waning and many degrees, especially graduate degrees, have a negative return on investment. 

Tuition and room and board costs have skyrocketed. Online learning has become more prominent, despite persistent questions about its educational value. 

While college degrees have worked for millions of graduates, student loans have mired millions of other former students, and their families, in long-term debt, doing work in fields they aren't happy with

Elite degrees for people in the upper class still make sense though, as status symbols and social sorters. And there are some professions that require degrees for inclusion. But those degrees and the lucrative jobs accompanying them disproportionately go to foreigners and immigrants, and their children--a demographic wave that may draw the ire of folks who have lived in the US for generations and who may have not enjoyed the same opportunities.  

Starting Sooner and Ending Worse

The latest phase of the College Meltdown was supposed to result from a declining number of high school graduates in 2025, something Nathan Grawe projected from lower birth rates following the 2008-2009 recession.

But problems with the federal government's financial aid system may mean that a significant decline in enrollment at non-elite schools starts this fall instead of 2025.  

The College Meltdown may become even worse than planned, in terms of lower enrollment and declining revenues to non-elite schools. Enrollment numbers most assuredly will be worse than Department of Education projections of slow growth until 2030

In 2023, we wrote about something few others reported on: that community colleges and state universities would feel more financial pressure from by the flip-side of the Baby Boom: the enormous costs of taking care of the elderly which could drain public coffers that subsidize higher education. This was a phenomenon that should also have been anticipated by higher education policy makers, but is still rarely discussed. Suzanne Mettler graphed this out in Degrees of Inequality a decade ago--and the Government Accountability Office noted the huge projected costs in 2002

Related links: 

Starting my new book project: Peak Higher Education (Bryan Alexander)

Long-Term Care:Aging Baby Boom Generation Will Increase Demand and Burden on Federal and State Budgets (Government Accountability Office, 2002)

Forecasting the College Meltdown (2016)

Charting the College Meltdown (2017)

US Department of Education Fails to Recognize College Meltdown (2017)

Community Colleges at the Heart of the College Meltdown (2017)

College Enrollment Continues Decline in Several States (2018) 

The College Dream is Over (Gary Roth, 2020)

The Growth of RoboColleges and Robostudents (2021)

Even Elite Schools Have Subprime Majors (2021)

College Meltdown 2.0 (2022)

State Universities and the College Meltdown (2022) 

"20-20": Many US States Have Seen Enrollment Drops of More Than 20 Percent (2022) 

US Department of Education Projects Increasing Higher Ed Enrollment From 2024-2030. Really?(2022)

EdTech Meltdown (2023) 

Enrollment cliff? What enrollment cliff ? (2023)

Department of Education Fails (Again) to Modify Enrollment Projection (2023)

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Barnes & Noble Bookstores and Starbucks on Campus: Things of the Past or New Spaces for Democracy?

There are currently more than 750 Barnes & Noble college bookstores across the US. But today, these bookstores are considered a losing proposition for the Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based company. Shares of BNED have recently dropped below $1 and there don't seem to be any buyers in sight. 

Barnes & Noble college bookstores have done a few things over the years to get students to come in and buy, teaming up with Starbucks and selling overpriced merchandise. And they have been cost cutting.  Wages at Barnes and Noble stores are low and schools rely on college students for much of the work. But coffee and snacks, high prices, low wages and reduced staffing haven't been enough to make the stores profitable. 

The company did have a resurgence during the COVID pandemic (2020-2021) but that was short lived.

The pandemic led to a shift to online learning, which boosted demand for digital textbooks and other educational materials. Barnes and Noble Education was well-positioned to benefit from this trend, as it has a strong digital business.

In December 2020, Barnes and Noble Education secured a $15 million investment from Fanatics and Lids, two sports merchandise retailers. This investment was seen as a vote of confidence in Barnes and Noble Education's business model and its potential for growth.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Barnes and Noble Education received $40,627,996 in COVID relief funds under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) program. The company used these funds to provide financial assistance to students, faculty, and staff, and to cover the costs of responding to the pandemic.

BNED is trying to stay up with the times and also keep their physical presence by offering First Day Complete, bundles of required digital course materials which are supposed to save money for students and schools. But will that be enough to keep the stores open? 

(Barnes & Noble at Camden County College, Camden, New Jersey) 

Glimmer of (Democratic) Hope

In May, workers at the Rutgers University bookstore voted to unionize, joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). According to Publisher's Weekly "bookstore unions across the country have gained significant ground."

Students at more than 50 colleges have also called for the expulsion of anti-union Starbucks stores from their campuses. And Starbucks Workers Solidarity has asked community members to boycott Starbucks until their local store has received a contract. 

Starbucks Workers Solidarity has unionized at more than 300 locations, but at a price: the closing of a few stores as a form of corporate retaliation--and to generate fear among workers. Recently, the University of Southern California, known for its neoliberal policies, evicted a small business owner outside USC's Keck Hospital, in favor of a Starbucks.

Related link:  

College Meltdown 2.1 (2022) 

College Meltdown 2.0 (2022)

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Manhattanville College’s Administration Tries to Save Removing its Heart (Bob Frank)

During the past two years, administrators at storied Manhattanville College have removed 46 full-time faculty--by paying then to retire or laying them off. Last month, for the first time in Manhattanville's history, tenured faculty in the arts and humanities were pushed away. 

Since the 1840s, Manhattanville College was famous for its caring faculty.  But now they will follow a CUNY/SUNY big school format, with most courses taught by adjunct faculty.

As much as the college claims on its front page to "put focus on the future," the reality is that of less caring, financially unstable institution.

To survive, Manhattanville College has chosen to cut full-time faculty, grow its administration, and create new interdisciplinary degrees. Unfortunately, no-one knows what those new interdisciplinary degrees will look like.

The Manhattanville faculty is the heart of the institution. To discard so many of them, points towards a lack of vision from its administration. 

Today, there are no more tenured faculty in many of the humanities and art disciplines and degrees such in Art History, Languages, Music, Technical Theatre, and many more, have been frozen. The future of this institution looks grim, following many years of catastrophic poor leadership and financial distress.

Students are also voicing opposition to these developments in this petition. 

One needs to ask "How can a small liberal arts college survive under the current financial climate?"

It appears Manhattanville’s administration, and its Board of Trustees, believe the answer is by freezing disciplines and replacing them with new degrees that have a proven history of being financially lucrative. But is that really the answer? 

In reality, after removing 50 percent of its full-time faculty, this college has lost its heart. The heart of Manhattanville College was its faculty and the only reason for students to choose this college. 

Compared to nearby, cheaper colleges, Manhattanville is small, with old dormitories, poor student activities, and not much to do during the weekends. Yet, it was a warm and wonderful campus, a place where students knew they were the center of attention, and faculty went far beyond their teaching duties to reach out to all students. 

When transforming a college by removing its heart, one wonders what the future holds, and how long it will take to regain an identity students can trust. 



End the Administration of Manhattanville College's Negligence Towards Students and Staff