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Identifying the social problem of rape on campus: Responses from within the university

Janet Karen Lohmann, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study focuses on the topic of campus rape within the organization of a comprehensive public university. Media attention, student movements and federal legislation have focused on the issue of rape on college and university campuses. The public has become increasingly concerned about this issue and campuses have been forced to mount a response by implementing policies and procedures which respond to rape within their communities. This study looks at how one institution defines and combats rape. This investigation interviews a variety of participants (administrators, student service providers, faculty and students) within the university to see if those who share this community similarly identify and perceive efforts to eradicate rape. Conclusions from this study reveal that there is much disparity among members on how they perceive rape and the university's anti-rape policies and programs. Much of the disparity is attributable to gender and some to position within the institution. Also examined was the impact of federal legislation on members' perceptions of campus rape and institutional liability. Environmental, victim support, education and administrative considerations are examined in how members' view anti-rape policies. The academic environment and its distinctiveness is also explored in how it may obscure efforts to come to a consensus on defining and ameliorating rape. Several specific recommendations are offered, but this research does not put forth sweeping or simple solutions. Understanding that rape is a contentious, and at time, ambiguous, event may be the first step in responding effectively to the issue of rape on campus.

Subject Area

Criminology|Higher education|School administration

Recommended Citation

Lohmann, Janet Karen, "Identifying the social problem of rape on campus: Responses from within the university" (2000). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9978522.