Saturday, July 2, 2016

When Numbers Don't Make Sense!

When numbers don't make sense, there's usually a story.

This is an essential story for every student journalist to go after on her/his campus and to hold the university accountable.

Here's a number that is not believable, one that cannot possibly be true:  Ninety one percent of colleges/universities report no sexual assaults.    Now it is true that 91% report no sexual assaults; that's because colleges are failing to report assaults on their campus.

Here's one powerful sentence in the HuffingtonPost piece every university administrator should print and post on his/her office wall:  "The reports that there were no incidents of sexual assault on 9-in-10 campuses “directly conflict” with a swath of peer-reviewed research that show around 1-in-5 female students will experience sexual assault by the time they graduate college." 

Here are some easy but important questions for student journalists to ask the college president at colleges reporting no sexual assaults:

1.  Do you believe that number is accurate?

2.  Why are no sexual assaults being reported on this campus?

3.  How long have you been aware of that number?

4.  When you saw a number that you know can't possibly be accurate, what action did you take?

It's time to hold universities accountable.  And when the university president refuses to do an on-camera interview, report it, post it, share it.  Then call your state's governor for comment.   What's the governor think of universities failing to report sexual assaults?   When your governor refuses to do an interview, report it, post it, share it.


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