Thursday, October 11, 2018

Sexual Violence and Mental Health Illness Plague America’s Universities

A good way to pick up the intellectual trends in vogue at American Universities is to browse the web pages of the top 20 private national universities as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Diversity and Inclusion (sometimes also Equity) is the overwhelming topic on every campus.  Each university shouts from the rooftop its success in increasing the Diversity of its undergraduate student body.  Only 2-3 top 20 schools still have a non-Hispanic White majority.  Soon there will be none.

The effort has now shifted to Diversifying graduate students, faculties, staff, and top administrators.  It will take time before the current pipeline of Diverse graduate students completes their doctoral degrees and joins the faculties and rise through the administrative ranks to become presidents and provosts.

Diversity and Inclusion are moving at the speed of  bullet trains.  Anyone who stands in the way will be run over.  Anyone who fails to get on board or stands on the platform watching the train go by has a dim, perhaps no, future as a professor or administrator in tertiary education.

University officials are focusing on two more recent concerns--sexual violence and mental health.  Climate (sexual violence) surveys are ubiquitous.  Past surveys have revealed alarming levels of sexual violence against women.  In response, universities have expanded reporting, treatment, and adjudicating offices.

No top 20 university is even remotely considering returning to single-sex dorms and chaperoned parties.  Given the statements universities frequently release about sexual violence, it’s a wonder than millions of female students apply to universities and pay tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition and fees to put themselves in grave danger of sexual violence.

Mental health illness is the most recent problem gripping undergraduate students.  The exponential increase in mental health illness occurred at midnight on November 8, 2016, when Donald Trump was declared the next president of the United States.  Universities rushed to set up counseling centers to help undergraduates survive the night and the next few weeks and months.  Just as students began to recover from the trauma of Donald Trump, the months-long confirmation process of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court pushed many students back over the edge.  Now they are stuck with both.

Student councils are adopting resolutions asking university officials to improve mental health facilities and services for students.

This may indeed be a good time to enhance mental health care in colleges and universities.  Students attending these schools are disproportionately left-liberal in political orientation.  If President Trump wins a second term in 2020, every campus will be overwhelmed with a surge in mental health illness among the students.

Universities may be partly culpable for the plague of sexual violence and mental health illness.  They talk about it every day, telling students to come forward and/or seek help.  Students having trouble keeping up with classwork may be persuaded that they need mental health counseling.  Female students may be afraid to go to the library or gym in the evening.

Most university presidents, provosts, and deans are hoping for Democrats to win control of the House of Representatives in the November 6, 2018, elections.  Winning the Senate too is probably beyond their wildest dreams.  But winning the House will give students and officials hope that Democrats will win the presidency and both houses of Congress in 2020.  Such an outcome, more than therapy, will reduce mental health problems on campus.  If the next president is a woman, fears of sexual violence will also diminish.

PS.  In the 1950s and 1960s, coeds had to sign out and in of their dorms between 7:30-10:30 pm on weekdays and 7:30-12:30 on weekends.  Overnight stays away from the dorm required parental permission.  The rule was in loco parentis.  There were probably some instances of sexual violence, but I do not recall reading a single story in the student newspaper during my undergraduate years, nor do I recall hearing a single story from male or female fellow students.

PSS.  Times change.  That was then.  This is now.

1 comment :

Samuel Laden said...

Does this imply that top schools will need to begin admitting more sexual violence victims and more mentally ill applicants?