Campanile Article: Ramifications of Rape Culture
Original post made by Palo Alto Parent on Apr 29, 2014
"Verde described an environment in which rape was considered excusable and the victim is often blamed for their involvement," the Campanile story recounts.
The Verde articles last year sparked discussion within the Paly school community, and also gained attention in local and national media, and may have contributed to the June 2013 opening of an OCR Title IX investigation of sexual harassment at Paly. These "unforeseen repercussions have shaken up the district and the Palo Alto community ever since," according to the Campanile.
The Campanile article describes events related to the ongoing OCR investigation, and also explores the role of streaking at Paly in possibly contributing to a culture that has eroded the environment for women and girls on the Paly campus.
"Many argue that streaking is entirely unrelated to the OCR investigation. However, as more details and definitions are brought into the light, the separation between streaking and the rape culture begin to grow more and more hazy," the article states.
"Rape culture…encompasses several issues, but essentially boils down to an environment of hostility toward women, where sexual harassment is normalized and accepted."
The Campanile article concludes that rape culture is "an issue within high schools across the nation and should be treated as such," arguing that solutions to rectify the situation at Paly will "only work to solve a singular problem within a larger issue."
Paly grad and former Verde editor Evelyn Wang, who worked on the rape culture articles, believes that the OCR investigation will only benefit the school culture overall, according to the Campanile article.
"I support any steps that will improve our society and institutions' treatment of sexual harassment, violence and assault," Wang is quoted as saying.
The entire Campanile article can be found at this link:
on Apr 29, 2014 at 10:44 pm
Thank you Palo Alto Parent!
Yes, this may be an issue across the nation. No - this is not a good excuse.
It seems to me that this issue is not disconnected from the other issues which brought the OCR to PAUSD, the culture, fear of retaliation that was mentioned so many times, etc.
I am reminded again of LaToya Baldwin Clark, who spoke at the PAUSD board meeting after the (first) OCR case became public knowledge. She noted that a recognizing bullying does not call for legal education; heart should suffice. Common sense comes in handy. I noted the link where she can be watched here - Web Link
I also noted (Dec 20, 2013) that "...That goes back to the law of the land, where there is no accountability, no transparency. This is a land where common sense was not exercised, a wild west where imperfect policies are irrelevant..." And so it continues.
on Apr 30, 2014 at 6:18 am
The article quotes Skelly saying that he has no idea why OCR would be interested in sexual harassment at Paly. At exactly the same time that Skelly secretly had to airlift the principal out of Paly for sexual harassment. You have to admire the chutzpah.
on Apr 30, 2014 at 10:15 am
The Campanile article reports that superintendent Kevin Skelly and Paly principal Kim Diorio believe that the OCR's decision to initiate its own investigation of sexual harassment at Palyknown as a "compliance review"-- is an extraordinary course of action on the part of the federal agency.
"After being debriefed by the PAUSD attorney, Diorio revealed that the circumstances surrounding the current investigation are unprecedented," the Campanile reported.
"This is a highly unusual case, because the agency usually starts a case because an individual has a complaint…In this situation, nobody from the school had a complaint," Diorio said, according to the Campanile article.
Information about compliance reviews, their incidence and the reasons for initiating them can be found on OCR's website:
For example, in OCR's 2009 report to Congress:
"In addition to resolving complaints, OCR initiates compliance reviews and takes other proactive steps to focus on specific compliance issues that are particularly acute or national in scope. It has been OCR's experience that targeted compliance reviews and proactive initiatives increase the impact of OCR's resources, complement the complaint resolution process, and can benefit larger numbers of students than sole reliance on complaint resolutions, which may involve only one student. Compliance review sites are selected based on various sources of information, including information provided by parents, education groups, media, community organizations, and the public, and, in certain circumstances, on statistical data if they are supported by other sources of information."
This report states that in 2007, OCR initiated 23 compliance reviews; in 2008, it initiated 42.
See full report at:
OCR's 2012 report to the President discusses further the incidence and reasons for use of the compliance review enforcement action:
"In the past four years, OCR launched more than 100 compliance reviews
proactive, broad-scale, systemwide investigations of issues of strategic significance. Recognizing a need for greater coherence and strategic focus in its compliance review docket, OCR implemented, during this time, a collaborative, data-driven process to guide its attorneys and investigators through multiple steps of analysisincluding a comprehensive examination of each proposed proactive investigation with regard to its need and priority, causes of concern, geography, severity, impact and other relevant information. With coordination and support from national headquarters, each regional office throughout the country now annually launches compliance reviews that are designed to effect significant change at the target
institutions and provide widely applicable solutions to civil rights problems faced by institutions elsewhere….
"OCR's compliance reviews have dealt with never-before addressed issues, keeping pace with emerging concerns and questions arising under the civil rights laws that OCR enforces, including sexual violence at the K12 and postsecondary levels; comparability of resources; bullying and harassment; booster clubs and the distribution of athletic dollars and resources; charter schools and authorizers; state transportation support for students with disabilities; shortened school days; food allergies; access to college- and career-preparatory courses and services; disproportionate discipline rates; minority over-representation in special education
programs and under-representation in talented and gifted programs; and access to electronic and web-based educational resources."
See full report at: