Whose responsibility are sexual predators on college campuses?
Recently President Obama announced his “It’s On Us” campaign that calls on all college-aged men to step up their efforts when it comes to protecting women on campus. The program also calls on colleges that receive federal funding to take a tougher stance against sexual assault and to have prevention programs in place.
The President has the backing of some celebrity faces to bring his plan some attention, including Kerry Washington and Jon Hamm. It seems like a winning plan on its own, but set against the context of the changing college landscape, some people are crying foul.
Less men are enrolling in college classes than they did even five years ago, as the number of women continues to rise. Several lawsuits have been brought by young men against their colleges alleging discrimination when it comes to assault cases — and some young men have won. There are over 30 cases still in the court system now, which represents a 400% increase in just 4 years. Some are claiming that young men are the actual victims because they are facing unfair judgments from colleges that are afraid of losing funding without making an assault statement.
All sides of these issues should be considered of course, but I think that President Obama is on the right side of the debate with his new campaign. Asking peers to watch out for each other, and step up when something seems awry, is a smart way to prevent a lot of the lawsuits in the first place. Colleges cannot control their student body outside learning hours and drinking on campus is not going away any time soon. So placing the responsibility to prevent sexual assault on the students themselves is an effective solution.
What do you think? Are young men getting a bad end of the deal when it comes to increased anti-sexual assault policies on college campuses?