Metro, Column

Taking Caution As The New Year Begins

As the city prepares for school, the city’s students are preparing as well. Although registered parties in the Mods are on hold until this upcoming weekend, students have not hesitated to reengage in some of their favorite activities during syllabus week.

Hopefully the Uber drivers are ready—they will soon be driving a few hundred students to their favorite stop on Beacon St., as tickets to Arc Lounge and Nightclub are already sold out for this week. Although the poorly-lit bar in Kenmore Square is definitely not the most luxurious of the city’s nightlife locations, BC students are buzzing excitedly around campus about the upcoming return to their favorite, sticky-floored destination.

While an evening at Arc will almost definitely entail a few entertaining tweets, some poor-quality Facebook photos, and enjoyable, but fuzzy, memories, a night out is not always just fun and drinking games. Be it Arc, Mary Anne’s, Cityside, the Mods, Walsh, or any syllabus week destination, colleges and universities across the country are beginning to heavily highlight the not-so-glamorous realities behind our red cups, especially in advance of a new school year.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five women have experienced either an attack or attempt at sexual assault during their time at college. As the issue is a personal one, though, many cases go unreported, establishing sexual assault on and around college campuses as a “silent epidemic,” per the National Institute of Health (NIH). Also according to NIH, at least one half of such instances involve the consumption of alcohol, leaving school officials with the responsibility to monitor not only student drinking, but its potential consequences as well.

While colleges and universities are required to report cases of sexual assault publically through the Clery Act, many cases remain overlooked, whether because the victim desires privacy or due to the undesirable nature of the situation for the school. Regardless, multiple Boston-area schools are still included in the highest percentages of students affected by sexual assault in recent years. Harvard College, Boston University, and Emerson College are just three local schools that are under investigation for such.

Due to the severity of these cases, part of the preparations made for the new school year include mandatory sexual assault prevention seminars on campuses across the city. This year, Everfi, a Washington D.C.-based company with an office in Boston’s South End, is supplying over 40 local schools with its Haven sexual assault education software that all incoming freshmen will be required to complete. BC, MIT, and Tufts University have already implemented the prerequisite. Emerson College also announced on Tuesday that it will establish multiple measures, including anonymous student surveys, during the start of this year to both prevent attacks as well as to continue the conversation about sexual assault prevention.

For most students en route to Arc this week, the most important thoughts they will be contemplating surround what to chase their raspberry Rubi with, but back-to-school preparations should—and, with the implementation of new sexual assault prevention policies across Boston, hopefully will—include consideration of more critical decisions.

Featured Image by Daniel Lee

September 3, 2014