Teen Vogue put out a great article on what questions to ask colleges when you’re making your decision where to go. One of the things I found most disturbing about the article is that in an attempt to mitigate risk some colleges are sending acceptance letters with statements that read something like this: “Prepare for a challenging year ahead, which includes losing your virginity to a rapist.” When I think of the circumstances surrounding statements like these I can only assume that the decision to include these statements was made without any actual regard for students safety but rather risk management.
In fact, advice given to colleges and universities by a top education lobby group is to “remember what will play well on TV.” It seems that colleges are becoming more and more concerned about brand than academics. Take a look at the areas of risk one legal group offers to help universities manage. Their mission is proactive risk management for universities.
The important thing here is to be aware up front about the environment in which you’ll spend the next four years. The Teen Vogue article helps with that by focusing on the questions you can ask. Questions like: How comprehensively does the university handle prevention efforts? Do they email a video around during orientation or do they have a facilitated discussion about best behaviors? Is the sexual prevention training the university offers mandatory or optional? Is the training offered only during freshman year? Is it required of transfer students? Does the university offer: 24/7 crisis services every day of the school year, unlimited, free long-term counseling for survivors, and sexual assault response training for staff and faculty?
Do your due diligence. Find out if the university you’re considering has more concern for their bottom line or for your sexual protection.