As a nation, we have recently experienced a significant positive shift in norms against casual campus sexual violence. These changes are perhaps as dramatic as the attitudinal shifts over recent decades regarding drunk driving or cigarette smoking. In a world in which masculinity is too often associated with sexual conquest, and women still suffer under intense and conflicting pressures regarding their sexual behavior, pushing this potential transformation forward is both difficult and necessary. Enforcement of Title IX protections has become a crucial driver of much of this change.
This is an account of some of what I learned as a participant in Title IX sexual misconduct enforcement at my law school and university. As with drunk driving and smoking, the newly strengthened norms against nonconsensual campus sex result from a combination of public activism, new laws and regulations, new enforcement of existing laws and regulations, and purposeful steps taken by strong institutional leaders. Michigan State University (MSU) exemplifies all this. Indeed, my optimism on these issues is grounded in my experience at MSU. MSU is a particularly good source of relevant lessons. MSU features some aspects of campus culture that have been found to be most related to sexual violence, including strong Greek life and heavy presence of athletics.
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Howarth, Joan W., "Shame Agent" (2017). Scholarly Works. 1209.