October 6, 2016
Epidemics on college campuses aren’t always in the form of stomach bugs and the flu. Of course, every college student will suffer through their first cold or stomach bug in the first few weeks of living with thousands of other young adults in less than sanitary dorms, but these aren’t what college students, especially female college students, worry about. There is a problem with the investigation and handling of campus sexual assault all over the country,
A Columbia student carried a mattress around campus until she saw justice for her protected student rapist, Brock Turner served only three months in jail after raping a girl on Stanford’s campus, Art Briles was fired from Baylor for covering up sexual assault perpetrated by student-athletes, and the University of Kentucky is suing its own student run newspaper for simply reporting on a professor’s sexual assault case. Universities have gone to great measures, and expensive measures, to cover up sex crimes.
The UK student newspaper The Kentucky Kernel printed a story condemning an associate professor of sexual assault. After complaints of sexual assault, editor-in-chief of The Kentucky Kernel, Will Wright, requested public records to support his story. UK president, Eli Capilouto, denied the request claiming that the investigation was “preliminary” so they could not access them yet. Since there was no law protecting the records, the students finally got ahold of them and printed the controversial story, prompting Capilouto to sue the paper on the grounds of “confidentiality and privacy of the victims.” The professor voluntarily resigned from his tenured position, but students felt like justice wasn’t served.
On college campuses, students, especially female students, are told to be careful. “Don’t walk alone at night!” “Download this app so the police can track you!” and “These are the rape frats, don’t go to parties there!” are all common phrases on college campuses, but even these precautions won’t protect a student from a professor or someone else with administrative power and the university behind them.
In efforts to save face, it seems that universities will go to any measure to protect rapists from severe punishment. No matter what happens to the students, the university will not want to look bad, even if it has to spend money on a lawsuit against their own student newspaper.