Friday, March 06, 2015

Rape on College Campuses

I'm not well informed on this topic, but it seems to me that a victim of a rape or other crime at a university should immediately report the crime to the police (not just to the university), and should seek redress through a civil lawsuit rather than through the university's judicial process. Is this correct?

This article tells the story of a student gang raped by student athletes. The student who was raped apparently at first tried to work within the university's own judicial process, and only later filed a civil suit against the university. After filing the lawsuit, the university seized records from the student's counseling sessions with a therapist employed by the university. The student who was raped had gone to the therapist after the crime in order to seek psychological counseling. The university seized the records of the counseling sessions with the intention of gaining information which could be used against the student in her lawsuit.

Here is some grim advice to students and faculty from the author of the article:
Students: Don’t go to your college counseling center to seek therapy. Go to an off-site counseling center. If, God forbid, you’ve been sexually assaulted, try to find a rape-crisis center. It will have wonderful people to talk to, free of charge. (I know from personal experience.) You simply do not have adequate privacy protections if you go to a college-provided counselor. Sorry. (Or, in the University of Oregon’s case, sorry not sorry.) 
Instructors: Don’t advise your students to seek counseling in the on-campus counseling center. There is no way that, in good conscience, I can ever give that advice again. If you have a student in crisis, help that student find support off campus.
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