Are anti-sexual assault advocates on college campuses ‘hysterical’?

Stuart S. Taylor thinks they might be, as Susan Svrluga reports over at WaPo. I really only have about five minutes to put this post up — so I’ll let readers respond more thoroughly in the comments but, immediately, this part of what Taylor said struck me as something in need of corrective comment:

[T]o resolve any doubt that the respondents were far from representative of the nation’s college students, consider the facts buried in Tables 3-2 and 6-1 of the AAU survey.

These tables indicate that about 2.2 percent of female respondents said they had reported to their schools that they had been penetrated without consent (including rape) since entering college. If extrapolated to the roughly 10 million female college student population nationwide, this would come to about 220,000 student reports to universities alleging forced sex over (to be conservative) five years, or about 44,000 reports per year.

But this would be almost nine times the total number of students (just over 5,000) who reported sexual assaults of any kind to their universities in 2013, the most recent data available, according to the reports that universities must submit to the federal government under the Clery Act.

You absolutely cannot rely on the numbers reported under the Clery Act if what you want to know is how many sexual assaults are reported to universities and colleges full stop. Firstly, there’s a question about the extent to which institutions comply with the Clery Act in the first place (hence the push for increased fines as a consequence of violation in the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, and increased scrutiny under the Campus SaVE Act). Secondly, and possibly more significantly in terms of numbers, there is a limit as to which reports of assault need to also be reported under the Clery Act. If an assault happened off-campus, if it was not reported to campus security personnel (e.g., campus police), it may not be reflected in a school’s Clery report — even if it was reported to the university in other ways (e.g., a Title IX office, student disciplinary office, etc.).

CFP: Topics in Global Justice

Topics in Global Justice: Agency, Power and Policy

26, 27 May 2016

Centre for the Study of Global Ethics, Birmingham

The second annual conference of the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham welcomes submissions on any topic related to global ethics, but will prioritize work focusing on the 2016 theme of agency, power, and policy.  Specifically, we are interested in the ethics and politics of public policies that aim to enhance individual agency by shaping personal decision making and changing individual behaviours. Recent years have seen a proliferation of academic research and public programming aimed at improving individual and social outcomes through overt and covert efforts to change the decisions and behaviours of individual agents.  These policies raise deep ethical questions about the proper role of government, the circumstances of justice, the nature and importance of individual agency, and the role of social norms in shaping preferences and actions.

Possible topics for papers include:

  • Purposefully shaping social norms to enhance well-being and/or agency
  • The contexts and constraints of choice
  • The moral permissibility of behavioural nudges
  • Legitimate authority in behavioural policy
  • Individual psychology versus structural injustice
  • Power and/or ‘empowerment’
  • Praise, shame and blame
  • Shaping preferences and adaptation

Subject areas where these questions may be investigated include:

  • Health and mental health
  • Violence and conflict
  • Regulation and the law
  • Sex and sexuality
  • Reproduction
  • Poverty and deprivation
  • Body image
  • Migration
  • Environment
  • Taxation

We encourage submissions from ethically engaged scholars, policy-makers and practitioners from all disciplines, including, philosophers, psychologists, lawyers, behavioural and development economists, historians, and other relevant subject areas.  Papers will ideally emphasize relevant transnational or global issues.  We encourage applications from members of underrepresented groups, and abide by the BPA/SWIP good practice scheme.

Public Speaker:

Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University, and author of the bestselling book High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society.  Dr. Hart is a widely sought after public commentator and his work has been featured in major publications including The New York Times and The Atlantic, and on major media outlets including HBO, MSNBC, and Fox News.

Keynote Speakers:

Clare Chambers, University Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Cambridge University

Molly Crockett, Associate Professor of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University

Serene Khader, Jay Newman Chair in the Philosophy of Culture, Brooklyn College

Abstracts should be submitted to Scott Wisor at  Please submit one 500 word abstract prepared for anonymous review, and a second document containing author name, position, and affiliation.  Abstracts are due 1 November.

To register for the conference, please visit

Further information will be forthcoming on transportation, accommodation, accessibility, and additional speakers.

REMINDER – Special Issue of Journal of Social Philosophy – call for contributions

The deadline for this cfp is fast approaching. It’s the 1st November 2015.

Reshaping the Polis: Toward a Political Conception of Disability

Guest edited by Shelley Tremain, Ph.D.

Submissions are cordially invited to be considered for a special issue of Journal of Social Philosophy on the theme of Reshaping the Polis: Toward a Political Conception of Disability. Feminist philosophers and theorists have successfully shown that the elimination of women’s subordination requires that conceptions of the social and political realms be reconfigured in ways that take into account subjectivity, embodiment, partiality, and other phenomena historically associated with women and femininity and thus excluded from understandings of these realms. Likewise, this issue of JSP aims to reshape (and enlarge) accepted understandings of what counts as the political domain in ways that emerging understandings of disability demand.

Some of the questions that contributions to the issue might address are:

  • What are the relations between current conceptions of the political realm, inaccessibility, and neoliberal agendas?
  • How do the incarceration and segregation of disabled people in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and prisons extend the reach of biopolitical forms of power, including settler colonialism and heteronormativity?
  • In what ways can disabling epistemologies of ignorance and acts of epistemic injustice be most effectively resisted and transformed?
  • How are ableism and disability discrimination reproduced by and through current immigration, housing, education, and employment policies?

Confirmed invited contributions:

Tommy Curry, “This Nigger’s Broken: Hyper-Masculinity, ‘The Buck,’ and the Impossibility of Physical Disability in the Black Male Body”

Maeve O’Donovan, “Resisting Disability: How Misconceptions of Disability Generate Failed Policies”

Jesse Prinz, “Outsider Art, Inside”

Melanie Yergeau and Bryce Huebner, “Minding Theory of Mind”

Please send papers directly to the journal’s Managing Editor, Josh Keton, at jsocphil [at] gmail [dot] com. Submissions should be prepared for anonymous review, include an abstract of 150-250 words, and be no longer than 25 pages (double-spaced, in a standard 12 point font, including endnotes and references). More information about the Journal of Social Philosophy (including author guidelines) can be found here.

The deadline for receipt for consideration for this special issue is November 1, 2015. (Papers not included in this special issue may also be considered for future issues of the journal.) For further information, please email Shelley Tremain at s [dot] tremain [at] yahoo [dot] ca.