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LAW 7065: One in Five: The Law, Politics, and Policy of Campus Sexual Assault

TRIGGER WARNING: Over the past several years the issue of campus sexual assault and harassment has exploded into the public discourse. Multiple studies have reinforced the finding that between 20-25% of college women (and a similar proportion of students identifying as transgender and gender-nonconforming, as well as approximately 10% of male students) experience sexual assault carried out through force or while the victim was incapacitated during their time in college. Fraternities have been found to be associated with an increased risk of female sexual assault on campus. Vulnerable students and those from marginalized groups are often found to be at increased risk. This is also a significant problem in k12 education. Sexual harassment rates are even higher. Survivors have come forward across the country with harrowing stories of assault followed by what they describe as an insensitive or indifferent response from college administrators. These survivors have launched one of the most successful, and surprising, social movements in recent memory. As a result, the federal government under President Obama stepped up its civil rights enforcement in this area, with over 300 colleges and universities under investigation for allegedly mishandling student sexual assault complaints as of the end of that administration. At the same time, the Obama administration's heightened response led to a series of high-profile lawsuits by accused students who assert that they were falsely accused or subjected to mishandled investigations that lacked sufficient due process protections. The one thing that survivors and accused students appear to agree on is that colleges are not handling these matters appropriately and appeared to be more concerned with protection the institutional brand than with stopping rape or protecting student rights. Colleges have meanwhile complained of being whipsawed between survivors, accused students, interest groups, and enforcement authorities. In an about-face that many found shocking, the Trump Administration rescinded all of the Obama-era guidance on the subject of sexual harassment and has promulgated new proposed regulations that would offer significantly greater protection to accused students and to institutions and commensurately less protection to survivors. An increasingly partisan Congress has been unable to pass legislation addressing the issue.This course focuses on the legal, policy, and political issues surrounding sexual assault and harassment on college campuses. Each week we will read, dissect, compare and critique a set of readings that include social science, history, literature, legal, policy, journalism, and narrative explorations of the topic of campus sexual assault. We will explore the history of gender-based violence and the efforts to implement legal protections for survivors in the educational context. We will also study the basic legal frameworks governing campus assault, focusing on the relevant federal laws such as Title IX and the Clery Act. We will critically explore the ways that responses to this violence have varied by the race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other characteristics of parties and institutions. We will hear from guest speakers who are actively involved in shaping policy and advocating in this area, including lawyers, activists, journalists, and policymakers. This year we will also host special guest speaker Chanel Miller, author of the bestselling memoir Know My Name. The subject matter of this course is sensitive, and students are expected to treat the material with maturity. Much of the reading and subject matter may be upsetting and/or triggering for students who identify as survivors. There is no therapeutic component for this course, although supportive campus resources and Title IX staff are available for those who need them. Elements used in grading: Grades will be based on class attendance, class participation, and either several short reflection papers and a class presentation (section 01) or an independent research paper or project and class presentation (section 02). After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section 01 into section 02, which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Enrollment is by INSTRUCTOR PERMISSION. Access the consent form here feminist.stanford.edu/academics/undergraduate-program/forms or email etsurkov@stanford.edu to request a form via email. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the class is full. Demand for the class is high and participation is capped at 18. The class usually fills quickly, so make sure to apply early. Cross-listed with Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies ( FEMGEN 143) and Sociology ( SOC 188).
Terms: Spr | Units: 3-4
Instructors: ; Dauber, M. (PI)
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