I would argue that the low numbers come from non-reporting and are not actually an indication of a lack of sexual assault at other campuses. Sexual assault is a serious issue at many, if not most, colleges and universities, and under-reporting is a huge issue.
An article was published this morning in "Inside Higher Education" that features an interview with Biddy Martin, the Amherst College president. Many with experience in the field are commending the college for how they've responded and, as an alumna, I am very proud to see our community coming together so quickly and effectively. I would not let something like this change your application decisions.
As a former rape crisis counselor I say that the decision to report a especially should rest with the victim, not the college administration. When more rapists are convicted and victims are not subjected to disturbing scrutiny more rapes will be reported. Many victims are too fragile to endure an excruciating process that rarely yields a satisfying outcome. A school can not prevent a victim from reporting the attack to the police.
As a student at Amherst College, I am inviting anyone with questions to email me. I cannot guarantee that I can satisfactorily answer your question, or even answer it at all, but I am more than happy to share my view on what has been happening the last few weeks.
Some of the Amherst apologists should get jobs as corporate or political spokespeople. All this "coming together" suddenly happens when the veneer is publically stripped away - like at Penn State.
I'm especially fond of the "It happens on all campuses" line, second only to the President waving a magic wand to make it all better.
Atmospeheres that enable this type of envronment are typically deep seated - and centered in student attitudes that have developed over years. Couple that with an institution charged with protecting a brand and dependent on the money from those with the attitudes, and well ...
As horrifying as Angie's story was, I'm not at all surprised by the administration's handling of it and I think that implying this is a problem that starts and ends with a handful of colleges -denying that this type of response is common across campuses across the US- is doing us all a huge disservice. Amfreborg, what would you have the administration do? Administrations are put in a tough position when it comes to rape allegations, and I feel that a more productive approach would be changing the culture. IMO, this is a problem that is far bigger than any one college.
What would I have administration do? Let's see, how about
College Policy - The campus is their property, why don't they act like it? Do they own it, or the students? I mean let's get real.
A) Are there "under 21" dorms? No alcohol - period - in under 21 dorms. If the students want to underage drink off campus, well they are responsible for the consequences. Why should the school put up with it? Oh yea - they don't want to students mad at them.
B) Felony crimes should be automatically refered to regular police. If students think
and want to be treated like adults, let's treat them like adults.
I don't get why control of your own institution is being abdicated. If you owned or ran a business, and an employee came in drunk, puking, or assaluted/raped someone - I ASSUME the police would be called? Students don't even clean-up their own barf most of the time, and leave it for the cleaning staff.
How about the issue of public urination? A co-worker of my wife got caught doing this in a parking lot outside a bar, and in Ohio that will get you automatically labeled as a sex offender and on the registry. That's what happened to her co-worker.
This country acts like it's some draconian tyranny to try and get some order, discipline and control at our Universities. I work with a young Indian grad student - he had a GREAT observation. He told me "I notice in the US the college students are always partying. What the hell have they accomplished in life to celebrate."
We give young people adult privileges, no consequences, and then wring are hands wondering about the results and flounder about what to do. We don't have the stomach to be the "bad guys" to our kids .. that's the bottom line.
I have not read all the posts, but has anyone tried to explain why an elite school like Amherst seems to be having a such problem with rape and other forms of sexual abuse? Why did the school work so hard to sweep the problem under the rug? (Similarly, why did Horace Mann work so hard to quiet the very serious issue of sexual abuse of male students by male teachers). Is there something about the school's culture? The type of male students it attracts?
Can parallels be drawn between Amherst and Horace Mann? Both formerly all male schools. Both preparing students to be "leaders" one day. Is there an attitude of entitlement that permeates both places? How is this transmitted by faculty and administration to the students? At Swarthmore, we were told we were the best and the brightest, but not in an entitled way. Contrarily, we were expected to give back to society because of the gifts and privileges we were afforded. Does such an atmosphere of giving back existing at Amherst, or does giving back mean working on Wall Street then contributing large sums to the Annual Fund and Capital Campaigns?
I think there must be something "special" about Amherst because one doesn't see this problem to this degree at other similarly situated liberal arts colleges.
Swatgrad, you are making broad assumptions. Amherst students are taught and expected to give back to society in a meaningful way, the same as you say you are at Swathmore. For you to assume that Amherst students are entitled Wall Street wannabees and misogynists is completely unfounded. If you choose to buy into the hype that Amherst has any more or different problems than other schools, well then I have to assume that Swathmore didn't teach you much. How's that for assumptions? Let's take it a step further, let's say there is NO sexual assault at Swathmore, yep, thats true. Probably none at HYPMS, Slippery Rock or Ball State. I seriously don't know what you or anybody else that comments think, is every other campus pure and safe? Of course not, but what I do know is that Amherst is addressing the problem in a vigorous manner. Just because a victims story of sexual assualt wasn't in your schools newsletter doesn't mean it didn't happen there. I can 100% assure you it did. And yes, there is something "special" going on at Amherst, just not what you think.
GA2012MOM -- not making assumptions, just asking questions. Horace Mann has serious problem with male teachers abusing students, while Fieldston and Riverdale and Dalton don't. Amherst has a rape culture, not demonstrated at Swarthmore, Williams, Pomona, etc. Asking why do these differences exist is not making assumptions, just posing questions for inquiry. Though you may want to lump Amherst with every other college in America, saying it's so doesn't make it so. There is likely something institutionally defective about Amherst that needs discovering and eradicating. It's not a sign of weakness but of strength if Amherst confesses to its sins and then tries to prevent them from occurring again. But the first state of that healing process is acceptance and unfortunately you seem to be stuck in a state of denial. That is understandable, but nothing will change until acceptance occurs. It's not all about the US News ranking in the end, but about whether an environment exists about which all members of the community can be proud, just not the dominant culture which contributed to the problem in the first place.
SwatGrad. You may want to read the article in The Phoenix (swat paper) before casting such generalizations at Amherst. Swat students expressed some of the exact same issues and concerns that were raised at Amherst. Hopefully others will not assume your attitudes are indicative of all swat alums.