Colleges do nothing to protect their students


Photo courtesy CNN

CNN released a documentary called “The Hunting Ground”, which followed the lives of hundreds of victims who were raped on their college campus, and how the institutions covered it up in order to protect their names. The University of California told one student who was sexually assaulted to “drop out until everything blows over.”

Welcome to Harvard, established in 1636. We are one of the most prestigious colleges in the country and we will not protect you if you are raped on campus grounds.

On Nov. 14, CNN released a documentary called “The Hunting Ground”, which followed the lives of hundreds of victims who were raped on their college campus and how the institutions covered it up in order to protect their names.

Women and men around the country were interviewed and asked how the schools responded to their unbelievable stories of abuse. Each story was different but the responses from all of the schools were the same – keep this quiet, no one needs to know. Or the worst one of all: maybe you led him on.

The idea that institutions would tell victims to keep their traumatic experience to themselves is beyond me, and it displays the callous and self-centered attitudes some institutions have towards their students.  

During each interview, the student was asked where they went to school or how the college protected their assailant. Several students broke down in tears saying that because the school provided no source of protection, they felt that they needed to drop out.

Even more horrifying than that, parents of students spoke about their child’s experience because their child had committed suicide.

Just a few of the colleges mentioned with the highest rape counts were University of North Carolina with 136 victims, Stanford University with 259 victims, Harvard University with 135 victims, University of Virginia with 205 victims and Dartmouth College with 155 victims.

One of the most shocking cases that stood out to me was a girl named Annie Clark who ended up dropping out of UNC Chapel Hill to start End Rape On Campus, an organization that helps rape victims on college campuses. Clark told an administrator that she was violently raped, and the administrator said, “Rape is like a football game Annie, and if you look back on the game, what would you do differently in that situation?”

In the most heinous instance of lackadaisical administration, Clark was given a disgusting analogy to try to ease her mind about the fact that she was raped. The shear ignorance of these faculty members is astonishing.

Kimberly Theidon, a former Harvard associate professor was denied a tenure after helping rape victims on campus file sexual assault complaints to the police department. After her tenure was taken away, co-workers who helped cover up sexual assault cases received their tenure. So the professors who help cover up sexual assaults on campus are being promoted, and those who help rape victims are being demoted. Great.

Some alarming statistics were also shown including one from the Washington Post that said 88% of women sexually assaulted on campus do not report. That is a horrendous statistic, these women are so scared because they can clearly see that colleges will take their criminal’s side in the situation.  

In the documentary John Foubert, a professor at Oklahoma State University said, “I think a lot of parents think, ‘well, we’ll just drop our daughter off, she’ll have a great college experience and everything will be fine because the college has a reputation for being a safe place.’ It’s not.”

If a professor who is surrounded by students all day is saying this, then this is no time to make “analogies.” This is a problem that needs to be addressed. Colleges aren’t going to be shutting their doors anytime soon, but they will gladly shut you out if you start to stir up the pot in their perfect pile of money.

Another student, Sarah Bedo who attended the University of Southern California said her administrator told her that she shouldn’t have been wearing a short skirt, and she shouldn’t be going out late at night.

Excuse me if women in society would like to go out in the night time and feel comfortable in a skirt. We are not here on earth to please any males who feel that they were “provoked” because of our clothing. Keep your hands to yourself.

Women weren’t the only ones sexually assaulted on campus. Ryan Clifford, a student at the University of California who was sexually assaulted by another student, said that the school told him to “drop out until everything blows over.” No one thought to help this student. Instead, they told him to drop out so he could keep things quiet.

This film also looked into the dominance of male athletes who are always protected by the campus. In the documentary, several girls came out and said they were raped by various members of college basketball and football teams, and when they told administrators, the administrators said nothing to these athletes until after they finished playing in the playoffs or championships.

College football and basketball leagues are million dollar industries and alumni come back each year to see championships and homecoming games. They also donate their money to new stadiums and gymnasiums. If a rape case suddenly was attached to the school’s name, the alumni would start to remove their funds and suddenly, the school would have no money.

Campus police officer Patrick Cottrell at the University of Notre Dame actually quit his job after several of his colleagues didn’t want to arrest any athletes because they were alumni of the school and respected the football team. Notre Dame is one of the biggest football teams in the country, so the officers saw that they were doing a “good deed” if no players were arrested.  Barely any arrests were made at all in this documentary and the penalty students are given for committing this crime is virtually nothing.

The University of Virginia had 205 reported sexual assaults from 1998-2013 and zero expulsions, but they expelled 183 students due to cheating. I guess the honor system becomes more important than human beings when you get to college.

Before the release of this documentary, Jameis Winston, now an NFL player charged with sexual assault back in 2012 at Florida State University, said that he would sue CNN for airing this documentary because it included footage of him and parts of his sexual assault case.

CNN aired it anyways.

I would like to give CNN a round of applause for airing this documentary. Rape is a serious crime and minor lawsuits shouldn’t get in the way of a major issue at stake. Women and men are taking their lives because these colleges protect their own image and the millions of dollars alumni donate each year rather than their students.

This documentary has opened my eyes to the corruption of colleges, and how endowments given by benefactors and alumni are essentially more important than those who are violently raped on campus.

In other words, money matters, and students don’t.

Azanae Barrow is a Community Editor for The Patriot and