Around 15 years ago, Brett Sokolow was touring universities and advising them on how to deal with sexual assault on their campuses. On these visits, he noticed something strange. The schools had policies about rape, and recognized that rape happened. But when it came down to it, schools just didn’t want to believe their own students actually rape.
“I trained hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hearing boards, and listening to them get squeamish about it,” Sokolow said. “The hearing board would say, ‘We’re not willing to label this guy a rapist.’”
Sokolow, the CEO of the consulting and law firm the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, decided colleges needed another word. But on the issue of sexual violence, almost every word is loaded.