NIU has already mandated online training for sexual assault awareness for incoming freshmen and transfer students. By May, a committee headed by Kristen Myers, director of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, will present a calendar to NIU President Doug Baker to show how and when more changes can be made.The article does not estimate how many sections of classes will not be offered in order that additional deanlets and deanlings be hired, nor whether the benefit-cost ratio of doing so is favorable.
Myers’ implementation committee will seek to carry out these recommendations so it will become “unthinkable” for sexual assault to take place at NIU, Myers said.It's going to take more than ten years to purge the common culture of all the base influences that skew perceptions of universities as places for a five year party. The university starts, however, pretty close to its goal.
“That’s our beautiful, utopian goal, is for NIU to be the ideal place for students to go ...,” Myers said. “One way to do that is to have it be unthinkable for these sorts of things to happen. Of course, that’s a 10-year goal.”
NIU Police have seen reports of sexual assault rise every year since 2011: There were six in 2011, 11 in 2012, 12 in 2013 and 16 in 2014.The hyperlink goes to a White House report that might offer estimates of how much under-reporting there might be. (Nowhere near enough to get to that one in five.) And Northern Illinois is exceeding the national average, in a good way. "During the years surveyed, 1995-2002, the DOJ found that there were six rapes or sexual assaults per thousand per year." On average, the reported rates at Northern Illinois are what you'd see at a four-to-five thousand student college.
Chief Tom Phillips said he doesn’t think the rising number of reports necessarily means more sexual assaults are happening, but the increase might be a sign more people feel comfortable reporting their assaults since sexual assault is considered underreported.
The NIU Police Department is one of several agencies that responds to reports of sexual assault. Police can investigate reports of sexual assault and gather evidence if a victim seeks to press charges, and those accused of sexually assaulting a person can also face disciplinary action through NIU.
Community members can also report sexual assault to Victim Advocacy Services and Title IX coordinator Karen Baker.
But there's yet another unfunded federal mandate coming.
Some changes need to be made before July 1 to comply with the Violence Against Women Act, a national law to address and prevent physical and sexual violence against women. To comply with changes to the act made in 2013, the NIU Police Department will have to start providing statistics on the number of reported incidents of dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. Those statistics must be available in the department’s annual Clery Report.The expanded reporting is unlikely to uncover the four thousand cases the Perpetually Aggrieved would (hysterically) have you expect.
Other changes will have to be made before students return to campus for orientation. The calendar submitted to Baker will show what can be done now and what can be done in a year, Myers said.
To go along with the calendar, the committee will submit to Baker a budget to pay for the resources it feels are necessary to implement its recommendations, Myers said.
Myers said the committee does not yet know what the size of the requested budget will be.
Go look up the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ “Violent Victimization of College Students” report from 2002. It found that about 1 in 40 college students are raped, and that number has steadily decreased over the years. Among the greater population, about 1 in every 1000 women fall victim to this crime. Again, those number are declining. Point being: society has actually made great strides in fighting rape, but there are voices among us very invested in burying this progress, which deprives us of the chance to learn from it.Maybe there's a different way to call attention to that progress. Suppose for the sake of argument that the Perpetually Aggrieved have the overall proportion right. Suppose, also, that Northern Illinois's report is accurate within an order of magnitude, and that there are other universities with similar incidences of sexual assault. Then, somewhere, there must exist a campus at which female students are experiencing more attention than a boatload of Vikings could unleash on an Irish village.