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Weekly Roundup
Posted by On Friday, November 14, 2014

Collective punishment for fraternities, the latest video by “It’s On Us,” and a timeline of sexual assault news from the last year.

Is Collective Punishment for Fraternities an Effective Prevention Technique?

In the wake of sexual assaults, fatal accidents, and other tragedies associated with fraternity parties, more and more colleges are turning to what some have deemed collective punishment: restricting or eliminating social events for all Greek organizations on campus, not just those associated with prior incidents. At Johns Hopkins all fraternity parties are banned until the end of the current semester, following a reported rape at Sigma Alpha Epsilon, despite the fact that neither the assailants nor the victim were associated with the fraternity. At Emory University all Greek social activities have been suspended following an assault at a fraternity house, and at MIT fraternity gatherings cannot exceed 49 people—the result of an accident in which a woman fell out of a fraternity window. Some commentators applaud such steps as common sense preventative measures while others have criticized such steps as unfair to fraternities and sororities that may be doing everything right and still be punished for a different group’s misdeeds or carelessness.

“It’s On Us” Promotes Bystander Intervention

Check out the latest spot from the White House’s “It’s On Us” anti-sexual assault campaign, which doubles-down on the theme of bystander intervention with a dramatization of a college-aged young man preventing sexual assault at a party. The video, narrated by Mad Men actor Jon Hamm, reflects current research suggesting bystander intervention may be a particularly promising prevention strategy. Other efforts will include partnerships with professional sports leagues, efforts to change the tone of victim-blaming conversations on the internet, and prizes for students who submit innovative strategies for bystander intervention.

A Timeline of Campus Sexual Assault

The past year has seen numerous developments in the fight against sexual assault on college campuses, including a White House campaign, new laws, and the latest count of 85 OCR investigations. This interactive infographic from Al-Jazeera America provides a timeline of the most relevant stories from the past year, serving as both useful summary and convenient resource.

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Weekly Roundup
Posted by On Friday, July 11, 2014

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s report on college sexual assault, released earlier this week and based on the results of a survey of 440 schools and three roundtable discussions, concluded that most colleges and universities simply aren’t doing enough to prevent sexual assault on their campuses. With that in mind, we want to use this week’s roundup to bring you three stories of measures schools and lawmakers are taking to address the sexual assault crisis.

Can Banning Grain Alcohol Stop Campus Sexual Assault?

In Maryland, lawmakers are following the lead of neighboring states Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania by banning the sale of 190-proof grain alcohols. Supporters of the ban, a group that includes state legislators and local college administrators, describe such liquors, which include the popular Everclear, as “a different category of alcohol” and “the worst of the grain alcohol.”

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Weekly Roundup
Posted by On Friday, June 6, 2014

This week we’re following up with three stories we reported on in earlier Weekly Roundups.

Alumni Network Battles Sexual Assault

A few weeks ago we reported on alumni who are fighting sexual assault at the alma maters by withholding or diverting donations in protest of ineffective or ill-conceived sexual assault policies. Now, a rapidly growing group of alumni are taking one step further by coordinating their efforts against sexual assault. Alumni activists from the University of Chicago, Yale, Occidental, Columbia, Dartmouth, and numerous other campuses are banding together to figure out how they can use their donations and, in many cases, considerable wealth and influence to positively affect the cultures of the schools they used to call home. This fight has particular urgency for many former student activists, who bemoan the need to fight for change they were calling decades ago.

Bans on Powdered Alcohol

Last month we brought you this story about a new powdered form of alcohol  called “Palcohol” and the problems it could pose for school administrators. Now, at least two states have decided that those issues are enough cause for concern to justify temporary bans on alcohol in powdered form. Vermont banned powdered alcohol last month, and now South Carolina’s House of Representatives, citing concerns about the regulation of alcohol in non-liquid form, have voted unanimously to send a bill banning the powdered versions of various kinds of liquor on to the governor for approval. Unsurprisingly, one of the chief regulatory concerns cited by South Carolina lawmakers was how this product could be used to effectively circumvent laws that define alcohol as a liquid. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer asked the Food and Drug Administration to keep Palcohol out of the hands of underage drinkers, predicting it would become “the Kool-Aid of teen binge drinking.”

U.S. News Says It Won’t Include Sexual Assault Data in College Rankings

We’ve reported on both the pros and the cons of U.S. News and World Report factoring the number of on-campus sexual assaults at a given institution into its college rankings. Following lawmakers’ calls for the publication to begin including sexual assault data in its rankings, U.S. News has issued a definitive decision on the matter. Due to their concerns about the accuracy of such data, and their belief that such information, even if it could be measured accurately, would not be relevant to the rankings’ purpose of determining the academic quality of a given school, U.S. News does not plan to factor sexual assault prevalence into its college rankings now or at any time in the foreseeable future. It will, however, include such information on the online profile page for individual schools and acknowledges the importance of campus safety to students’ college experience.

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