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LAWGEN 10SC: One in Five: The Law, Policy, and Politics of Campus Sexual Assault

Trigger Warning: Over the past three years, the issue of campus sexual assault has exploded into the public discourse. While definitive figures are difficult to obtain due to the necessarily private nature of these events, several recent studies estimate that between 20-25% of college women (and a similar proportion of students identifying as transgender and gender-nonconforming, as well as around 5-10% of male students) experience sexual assault. 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 has stepped up its civil rights enforcement in this area, with 124 colleges and universities under investigation for allegedly mishandling student sexual assault complaints as of July 2015. This courses focuses on the legal, policy, and political issues surrounding sexual assault on college campuses. The class is rigorous and includes substantial reading over the summer and during the course. We will spend the first week of the course learning some background about sexual violence and the efforts to implement legal protections for survivors. We will study the basic legal frameworks governing campus assault, focusing on the relevant federal laws such as Title IX and the Clery Act. During the second week we will travel to Washington, D.C., where we will meet with journalists, activists, experts, policymakers, elected officials, and others who are actively involved in shaping the national response to this issue. Expected guests speakers include Catherine Lhamon, the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights; Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA); lawyers from the National Women's Law Center; the Legislative Director for Senator Kristin Gillibrand (D.N.Y.); Kirby Dick, the director of the acclaimed documentary the Hunting Ground; and many of the activists who appear in the film, as well as journalists, policymakers, and theorists. We will also visit sites and museums with relevant exhibits. On our return to campus students will create and present final projects. Travel expenses to DC (except incidentals) are provided by Sophomore College. Students are expected to do all readings, and participate in all class sessions, meals, field trips, films, and discussions. Requirements include 2-3 reaction papers, preparing for discussions with outside speakers, and the development and presentation of a final paper or final group-designed project which can include a multi-media or artistic component. 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. Please consider this prior to enrolling in the course. Sophomore College course, application required, due noon, April 5, 2016. Apply at
Terms: Sum | Units: 2 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: ; Dauber, M. (PI)
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