Consent on Campus by Donna Freitas

Here is a free history lesson in higher education:

In Loco Parentis was the name of the game since the beginning. College administrators controlled everything including the personal lives of students. They dictated what students learned, what they ate, when they slept, and even who they dated. As society progressed into the 1960’s, administrators tried to keep their authoritarian power but (most) finally relented. This gave way to a new era higher education when the administration pendulum swung over to laissez-faire. Colleges didn’t care what you said or did, as long as you weren’t cheating. Even if you broke the law, colleges took a step back and left everything to the judicial system.

Recently, things have started to change. As the price of higher education has increased rapidly over the past couple of decades, students, parents, and legislators have all demanded colleges to take more responsibility. Legislation like the Clery Act and Title IX Amendments have required schools to upkeep a certain level of safety for students. Additionally, major events like the Virginia Tech and the #MeToo have shifted conversations on responsibility.

Sex on college campuses has been a huge topic for decades. Recently, colleges have been given two seemingly opposing directives. Directive one: when it comes to sex, stay out of way; let students make their own decisions. You can educate them and give them options, but it is their bodies. Allow them to control their body. Directive two: the moment you know about a sexual assault, you must step in immediately and correct the situation.

Now, yes, I have oversimplified these directives and it may seem like I am minimizing or poking fun at a serious topic but I think it is important to notice the struggle on college campuses.

Conset on Campus works through all this information and more. The author shares her experiences presenting on colleges throughout the country. She recounts her numerous conversations with college students and how they admit to being culpable to the negative sexual culture found on college campuses.

I really enjoyed this book and the author’s approach. I wrongly assumed she was going to simply attack colleges for not doing enough then and now. She brings in great information and challenges the norms that have been accepted.

I think this book is a great read for anyone on a college campus.

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