The culture of rape at Appalachian State

We've all heard about - and been appalled by - the Republican push by the legislature and McCrory administration to make severe cuts to the UNC system. A big part of this push has been an attack on subject areas deemed "useless" by Republicans, like women's studies. The Republicans are also wanting to restrict voting by college students around the state, diluting the power of the votes in college towns in conservative parts of the state.

This article at, which is unlocked for the next day and a half for non-subscribers, is a must-read.

"Shut Up and Pay" outlines the serious problem of rape at Appalachian State University the past few years and actions by the Chancellor of the university that have resulted in protests and condemnation by the faculty. Over 80 professors at ASU signed a "no confidence' vote in the Chancellor on March 25th. The story involves the administration covering up or ignoring rapes alleged to have been committed by the university's athletes and censoring of a professor who spoke out on the issue. The whole mess has been "bubbling under" in the media for several months, getting coverage from Gawker, the Chronicle of Higher Ed, and the Huffington Post, but not wide attention in the mainstream press in NC.

This puts the actions of the legislature and McCrory administration in a larger context. Besides the activism against Amendment One and Occupy protests, students and faculty at our state universities are becoming more politically aware and active, asking some hard questions about the influence of big money sports on campus culture.

A revealing quote from the article:

Talking to faculty and students about this controversy, I noticed that terms like “corporate PR,” “corporate management,” and “protecting a brand” kept coming up. Administrators, in their own documents about the Price case, defend their actions in terms of managerial authority. In a recent athletics fundraising video for alumni, student athletes even repeat “I am a product of your investment.”

ASU has announced plans to move to the top tier of college football by moving to the Sun Belt Conference, and is undergoing reaccreditation. The controversy has already held up the latter process, a Dec. 10 email to faculty noted ASU's vague way of logging student complaints among the issues the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools wants resolved.

When I returned to ASU to research this story, the first thing I noticed was the size of the expanded stadium, a monstrosity constructed on the back of a controversial student fee hike in 2002. I and every other student who's gone to ASU since then is still paying for it every time we write a check to pay off our loans. Meanwhile, periodic freezes on new faculty positions (except for low-paid adjuncts) are now the status quo.

What kind of things are going on at other UNC systems schools that the McCrory administration would prefer you not know about?