OPINION: Title IX under attack by Trump Administration

By Sophia Rossini
[email protected]

On Sept. 7, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave remarks about the overhaul of Title IX protections against campus sexual assault that were established during the Obama administration. She criticized the policy of preponderance of evidence used during sexual assault cases, calling it the “unraveling of justice,” “shameful,” and  “wholly un-American.” However, we are not filling our prisons with accused rapists.

In fact, according to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), only six out of every 1000 rapists will be incarcerated. Additionally, perpetrators of sexual assault are far less likely to go to jail or prison than other criminals. In contrast, 20 out of every 1000 robbers will be incarcerated.

DeVos spent much of her speech calling attention to the ways that the life of a student can be ruined with false rape accusations. She frames the perpetrators as equally victimized as the survivors of sexual assault. This message coming from Washington is especially troubling as survivors of sexual assault grapple with the effects of what happened to them physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The last thing victims should be worried about is protecting their rapists. Already, an estimated 63 percent of sexual assault cases go unreported, meaning over half of perpetrators will not face a single legal consequence for their actions. This can hardly be read as a national crisis of accused
perpetrators having their lives ruined. This message shames victims into not
reporting the assault and sends a clear signal that the current administration cares more about the perpetrators than about the survivors.

The Brock Turner case was not an anomaly, but rather the chilling litmus test for the biases of the American justice system, and not in the way DeVos frames it. Perhaps the most disturbing effect of her statement is that it sets a precedent for other administrators to follow, and makes it acceptable to bash the legitimacy of sexual assault victims’ stories.

Candice Jackson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Education’s civil rights office, stated that 90 percent of campus sexual assaults were just drunken, regretted sex. This doesn’t make sense with the motives of the survivors in reporting the assault.

The process of reporting sexual assault is cumbersome and uncomfortable at best, traumatizing and dehumanizing at worst. Reliving the experience in a courtroom is an easy task to endure. It is a gut-wrenching, emotionally taxing and humiliating experience. Reporting sexual assault is not a impulsive decision undertaken simply because one wants attention. The use of the preponderance of evidence on campus is not the cause of the unraveling of the American justice system, but an attempt to remedy it.

Rape culture is alive and well in American culture, and DeVos’ efforts to equate the suffering of the accused to the plight of the victims signals a gross disregard for victims’ trauma. Until campuses and the federal government can recognize the danger of protecting perpetrators, victims will suffer in silence, and perpetrators are more likely to become repeat offenders.

This is the opinion of Sophia Rossini, CSB sophomore

OPINION: Those who can afford internships get the upper hand

By Cameron Johnson
[email protected]

Job fairs, internships and networking.

These three things incite panic in students across our campus. They also give us an opportunity to earn high paying employment directly after graduation. This is an opportunity for students and companies alike.

However, the internship to work pipeline also feeds a cyst that is growing on our
economy. If you have ever attended a career session at CSB/SJU, you were probably told that the most important tool in a person’s toolbox is their
professional network. A strong network could be the difference between getting a job and not.

There are many ways to gain a bigger network, but I have found the most important way to grow your network is your family. If you are in a family that is well connected, you are more likely to get an internship. This means that the well-connected youth are more likely to secure high-paying jobs, who go to have leadership roles in that company.

In our parents’ and grandparents’ days, they could easily pay for a college education by working a full-time job during their summer vacation, but the world has changed quite a bit since then. Today, we have to choose between earning an income during the summer vacation or interning for a company for no pay.

Students are given a choice: start to pay off enormous student loans or work for free and gain employable skills. Many middle and upper class students get help from their parents, which allows them to take an unpaid internship. But, many of my classmates’ parents cannot afford to support their them by supplementing their income, so they have to work for money.

Also, most of the internships are located in metropolitan areas. Students of color and students from rural communities are disproportionally affected. This means that the few who have parents that can financially support them are more likely to find employment following graduation.

These two issues create a cycle which allows those in a higher socioeconomic standing the only opportunity to take unpaid internships. Internships are a great resource, but I would go so far as to say that unpaid internship programs are one of the most significant labor issues facing the American workforce.

In coming years, our generation will become the leaders of our country. We must create an environment in which we minimize inequality and maximize opportunities for everyone, so together we can create a better world.

This is the opinion of Cameron Johnson, SJU sophomore

OPINION: An American story of hate – a Johnnie’s take on Charlottesville

By Jonathan Beirne
[email protected]

This opinion comes includes a first hand account from a third year student and SERP fraternity member at the University of Virginia.

Charlottesville, Virginia, home to nearly 47,000 permanent residents, was also home to a “Unite the Right March” on Friday, Aug. 11. Charlottesville, usually the home to tens of thousands of University of Virginia students (UVA), was at the time abnormally empty, being that classes had not yet resumed. However, some students were on campus at this time and experienced this “March” first hand.

Members of the Sigma Phi Society (SERP) fraternity at UVA were required to move in the weekend of the 11, unknowing of the march and protests that were to take place that very same weekend. On the night of the 11, SERP members were gathered in their living room; some were playing various drinking games while others partook in video games.

One fraternity member who was toying with the large speaker system suddenly cut off the music, upsetting and bewildering everyone else in the room. But when the music was turned off, everyone in the house could hear a quiet, yet very distinct chant of “Blood and Soil.” The muffled chant struck the group as odd, but they decided that further investigation was required to grasp the situation at hand fully.

Upon walking out their front door, they were able to see in the distance what seemed to be a small group of people chanting and marching through campus with lit torches, a startling and puzzling sight to say the least. Some of the students seemed disinterested in this discovery and proceeded to return to their activities inside; however, some students were curious and wanted to investigate further. They walked up the street towards the commotion, and could now hear various other chants, much louder now, the likes of which most readers are familiar with and don’t require restatement or reedification in this article.

These few SERP members continued walking towards campus only to see a large group of alt-right protestors wielding lit torches, surrounding the statue of the founder of their university, Thomas Jefferson.

Imagine hundreds of protesters marching through your school in the evening, with lit torches, chanting all sorts of disgusting, offensive and degrading chants, headed straight towards what you regard as the symbol of your school.

Would you think you were in some movie? This kind of thing only happens in movies right? Would you not pay it any attention and simply walk back inside and resume your day?

Being so far away from places like Charlottesville may have you thinking that things like the Charlottesville riots are a thing of the past, but these kind of
activities and demonstrations are on the rise.

This is the opinion of Jonathan Beirne, SJU senior

Opinion: The CSB/SJU experience is not the same for all students

Dear class speakers,

We are senior Bennies who feel the need to address our experiences at CSB/SJU before commencement, as we know certain people will talk about community and the great experience as a Bennie family. They will reference making their best friends here, enjoying all the community activities and being changed by these wonderful institutions. (more…)

Reader Letter: Benedictine values show that further discussion is needed in trustee vote

Dear Editor,

Like many others I remain seriously concerned about the proposed decision. I have exchanged with both presidents about the issue, voicing my concerns as a junior faculty member that joined CSB/SJU three years ago in large part because of its healthy shared governance practices. And I dearly appreciate the sensitive concern that both presidents personally showed by quickly reaching out to me. (more…)