45 Stories of Sex and Consent on Campus

As anyone who has fumbled through a sexual encounter knows, real-life sex can be far more complicated than a poster declaring, “Consent is Sexy.” Many remain confused about what constitutes sexual consent, and talking about it in the moment can feel awkward. On college campuses, a combination of alcohol, inexperience and differing expectations about how one is “supposed” to perform only heightens the confusion.

In the time of #MeToo, the debate about how to handle sexual consent has become louder than ever. Many sexual encounters seem to take place in a so-called gray zone of miscommunication, denial, rationalization and, sometimes, regret.

We wanted to explore that complexity when we asked college students for their stories of navigating this gray zone: what they anticipated, how they negotiated consent and processed the aftermath, and what advice they would give their younger selves. These are their stories.

—Jessica Bennett and Daniel Jones

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College Removes Instructors as Students Find Their #MeToo Moment

In one complaint, Dominique Machain said that in 2016, when she was a freshman, Roy Frumkes, her narrative writing professor, told her in graphic detail about a student he said had gone to his apartment and had sex with him. Then, she said, he added that if she wanted a recommendation she should visit him there. The implication, Ms. Machain said, was clear.

“I almost felt paralyzed,” she said.

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Roy Frumkes was found to have violated the sexual misconduct policy at the School of Visual Arts by administrators. Credit Lars Niki/Getty Images

In recent weeks the school responded, saying Mr. Frumkes’ employment had been terminated after an investigation found that he had violated the school’s sexual misconduct policy, according to a letter from an administrator. The letter did not detail the findings. Mr. Frumkes, who did not respond to requests for comment, is appealing. The school’s letter said that until his right to appeal has lapsed or been exhausted his employment would be suspended.

Another instructor in the department, Robert Haufrecht, was suspended in March and his contract was not renewed. The school said the suspension was in response to concerns raised by students but did not detail them. One student, Ashley Priessnitz, said she had complained last semester that Mr. Haufrecht, her acting teacher, had showered her with unwanted attention, and had told her in class to rehearse suggestive scenarios, like washing herself.

“I started wearing baggy clothes to class because any time I wore normal clothing he would comment on my appearance,” Ms. Priessnitz said. “If I saw him in a hallway at school I would duck around a corner.”

Mr. Haufrecht declined to comment.

Several weeks ago, an administrator in the film and animation department, Mary Lee Grisanti, wrote to students, referring to Mr. Haufrecht. “I want you to know that your voices have been heard by this school at the highest levels,” she said.

The school’s response illustrates the ripple effect of the #MeToo movement, which surfaced in the high-profile precincts of Hollywood but is now prompting action in more prosaic places like colleges and businesses.

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The School of Visual Arts main building on East 23rd Street in New York City. Credit Caroline Tompkins for The New York Times

The School of Visual Arts, with more than 4,000 students from around the world, was founded in 1947 as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School and offers a variety of degrees.

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Robert Haufrecht’s contract to teach at the School of Visual Arts was not renewed. Credit Shirin Tinati

“The College is firmly committed to the rights of all members of its community,” Joyce Kaye, a spokeswoman, wrote in an email. “SVA responds to sexual misconduct complaints swiftly, investigates them thoroughly and resolves them in accordance with local, state and federal laws.”

Ms. Kaye did not respond to questions about Mr. Frumkes.

The school’s film and animation program offers courses in screenwriting, cinematography and directing. Among its alumni are the horror director Ti West; Dan Minahan, who has directed episodes of “Game of Thrones,” and “House of Cards”; and Michael Giacchino, a composer who was named to the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2015.

Several students and former students said they were frustrated by the school’s response when they complained in the past.

One former student, Courtney Wilder, said she had complained to Salvatore Petrosino, an administrator in the film and animation department, almost two decades ago when, she said, Mr. Frumkes made her feel uncomfortable by calling her in her dormitory, inviting her to his apartment and giving her presents in class.

She said Mr. Petrosino told her that he would talk to Mr. Frumkes, but that no one followed up with her.

“It really shook my confidence as a young woman,” she said, “what people see as your value and who you can trust.”

The school is now investigating Ms. Wilder’s complaint. Mr. Petrosino did not respond to phone and email messages requesting comment.

In recent weeks the school’s president, David Rhodes, wrote Ms. Wilder to apologize for her treatment by faculty and staff. “I thought that I had cleaned house in 1996,” he said. “Obviously I was wrong.”

The recent complaints about Mr. Frumkes came in earlier this year. Ms. Machain and a second student, Sofia Zarul Azham, said they realized that they each had similar experiences with him. Ms. Zarul Azham said that Mr. Frumkes had asked her to his apartment, invited her to a restaurant and once commented on her breasts. The two women decided to go together to the Title IX office, accompanied by a professor, Nana Simopoulos, who acted as their adviser.

“He made me uncomfortable many, many times,” Ms. Zarul Azham said of Mr. Frumkes.

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Colleges Recruit at Richer, Whiter High Schools

Colleges like to tout their commitment to diversity, but the way they recruit students tells a different story.

For example, the typical high school visited by Connecticut College during recruitment events was richer and whiter than the typical high school they didn’t visit.

An analysis of 41 other colleges and universities shows a similar trend: high schools that were visited for recruiting events tended to be whiter and wealthier than schools that were not visited.

The findings come from newly collected data on high school recruitment visits, when colleges send representatives across the country to court potential students. We gathered data on these visits throughout 2017 for 150 colleges and universities. (The data does not include other forms of recruitment like brochures, emails and visits not posted online. It also cannot account for instances where a high school may lack the capacity to host recruitment events.)

Knowing which high schools receive recruiting visits is important because debates about access to higher education often focus on students’ abilities but ignore how colleges identify and prioritize prospects.

A study by Meagan Holland at the University at Buffalo found recruitment visits aren’t merely an indicator of each college’s priorities; they also influence where students — and particularly first-generation students — apply and enroll. The study found that many smart kids from less affluent backgrounds are sensitive to “feeling wanted,” often attending colleges that took the time to visit.

High Schools Receiving Visits Were in Wealthier Neighborhoods

Median neighborhood income for …

Typical skipped high school

Typical visited high school

Stony Brook U.

Rutgers U.–New Brunswick

U. of Massachusetts–Amherst

North Carolina State U.–Raleigh

U. of California–Irvine

U. of Kansas

U. of Pittsburgh–Pitts. Campus

U. of South Carolina–Columbia

U. of Georgia

U. of Colorado Boulder

U. of Cincinnati–Main Campus

U. of California–Berkeley

U. of Nebraska–Lincoln

U. of Alabama

U. of Arkansas

Southern Illinois U.–Carbondale

Median neighborhood income for the typical high

school that was …

Stony Brook U.

Rutgers U.–

New Brunswick

U. of Mass.–

Amherst

North Carolina

State U.–Raleigh

U. of California–

Irvine

U. of Kansas

U. of Pittsburgh–

Pitts. Campus

U.S.C.–

Columbia

U. of Georgia

U. of Colorado

Boulder

U. of Cincinnati–

Main Campus

U. of California–

Berkeley

U. of Nebraska–

Lincoln

U. of Alabama

U. of Arkansas

Southern Illinois

U.–Carbondale

The clearest finding from our study is that public high schools in more affluent neighborhoods receive more visits than those in less affluent areas.

Only about a third of households across the country earn more than $100,000 annually, but nearly half of high schools receiving visits by private colleges and universities were in neighborhoods where average incomes were higher. Connecticut College visited neighborhoods with an average median household income of $121,578. Private colleges also disproportionately visited private high schools over public high schools.

Andy Strickler, dean of admissions at Connecticut College, said the school targets high schools that have historically provided students, or other schools that have a similar profile.

He said there was a good reason Connecticut College doesn’t always visit other areas: “There’s a trend for these students to stay closer to home for college.”

While public research universities visited rich and poor neighborhoods nearly equally when recruiting in their home states, they visited the same affluent high schools targeted by private colleges when recruiting elsewhere. Most public colleges also visited far more high schools out of state than in-state. The median income of areas where the University of Pittsburgh recruited out of state, for example, was $114,000, compared with $63,000 for areas that were not visited.

Average median income for the typical visited high school …

Out-of-State

Rutgers U.–New Brunswick

Stony Brook U.

U. of Massachusetts–Amherst

U. of California–Berkeley

U. of Pittsburgh–Pitts. Campus

U. of Colorado Boulder

U. of California–Irvine

Southern Illinois U.–Carbondale

U. of Kansas

U. of Cincinnati–Main Campus

U. of Nebraska–Lincoln

U. of Georgia

U. of Alabama

U. of South Carolina–Columbia

North Carolina State U.–Raleigh

U. of Arkansas

Average median income for the typical

visited high school …

Out-of-State

Rutgers U.–

New Brunswick

Stony Brook U.

U. of Mass.–

Amherst

U. of California–

Berkeley

U. of Pittsburgh–

Pitts. Campus

U. of

Colorado Boulder

U. of California–

Irvine

Southern Illinois

U.–Carbondale

U. of Kansas

U. of Cincinnati–

Main Campus

U. of Nebraska–

Lincoln

U. of Georgia

U. of Alabama

U.S.C.–

Columbia

North Carolina

State U.–Raleigh

U. of Arkansas

The attention public universities lavish on wealthy out-of-state schools is a response to state policy. Over the past decade, many states have cut funding for higher education, forcing public universities to become more dependent on tuition revenue. Research shows that public universities responded by enrolling more out-of-state students, who often pay two to three times more than state residents. And of course, only well-off students can afford that.

JL201.jpg

When Boulder visited the Chicago metro area, it did not tend to visit schools like East Chicago High School, where only 2 percent of students are white. Joshua Lott for The New York Times

Some people argue that poor students and students of color are less likely to attend college because they have lower grades or standardized test scores. But we found that colleges and universities tended to avoid visiting schools in poor areas even when those schools had a large number of students who had performed well on tests.

For example, when the University of Colorado Boulder visited public high schools in the Boston metropolitan area, it focused on schools in wealthy communities but skipped many poorer schools that had higher numbers of students scoring proficient in math.

In their out-of-state visits, our data also suggest, public universities were more likely to visit predominantly white public high schools than nonwhite schools with similar levels of academic achievement. For example, the University of Colorado Boulder visited Dover-Sherborn Regional High School, which is 88 percent white and has about 154 students with proficient math scores, according to the federal Department of Education. But it did not visit Brockton High School, where just 21 percent of students are white but about 622 students have proficient math scores.

“In order to be good stewards of our funding, we consistently recruit at schools that have historically given us applications,” said Colleen Newman, admissions director at Boulder. “Given our limited funding, we are unable to expand our traditional recruitment efforts to all regions and all high schools that have academically talented students.”

Recruitment Is Big Business

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A recruiter for the University of Alabama speaks to prospective students at a college fair run by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, at Suffolk County Community College on Long Island. Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Colleges don’t treat recruitment lightly. It’s big business for colleges and the firms they hire. Most colleges identify prospects by purchasing lists of students and their backgrounds from the testing agencies College Board and ACT. They can also hire enrollment management consulting firms, which integrate data from the university with data on schools and communities. This helps them decide which schools should be visited and which should be targeted with emails and brochures. One consulting firm we spoke with even knows information about individual students such as their family income and net worth, and the value of their home.

If colleges have all this data, why aren’t they better at targeting talented poor students and students of color?

The most common explanation is that there aren’t enough of them applying (the so-called achievement gap). Another explanation we hear is that talented students don’t apply because they don’t have the right guidance (called “under-matching”). These explanations assume that doubling the number of high-achieving students who apply would automatically double enrollment. But this treats universities as though they are passively receiving applications, when they are actually actively seeking and encouraging certain applicants over others. Our data suggests universities are determined to court wealthier students over others, and they expend substantial resources identifying and reaching them.

There are many students from poor communities who get excellent grades but end up going to a community college because no one bothers looking for them. If colleges are serious about increasing socioeconomic and racial diversity, they should look for merit everywhere, not just in wealthy, white communities.

Ozan Jaquette is an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Karina Salazar is a doctoral candidate at the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona.

Graphics by Jessia Ma and Stuart A. Thompson

Methodology

Throughout 2017, we collected data from over 150 colleges and universities that posted off-campus recruiting events on their admissions website. For each institution, we collected data from every page containing data on recruiting events. Data was collected once per week. Every two months, we re-investigated each institution to identify new pages or changes in formatting to an existing page. Additionally, we collected data about participation in National College Fairs and group travel tours. Income data from the census was matched to the high school using its zip code.

We define off-campus recruiting events as those focused on soliciting undergraduate admissions applications, hosted by paid personnel or consultants at any off-campus location. Nearly all colleges and universities convene three broad types of off-campus recruiting events: receptions/college fairs at hotels and convention centers; evening college fairs at local high schools; and daytime representative visits to local high schools. Some institutions in our sample did not post all three types of recruiting events on their admissions website. This story includes only institutions that posted all three types of recruiting events on their admissions website. Nevertheless, our data should be interpreted as all events advertised on admissions websites, rather than as a complete list off off-campus recruiting events. Non-visited schools are an average of all high schools in states where the college made at least one visit a high school in the state. More data can be found at emraresearch.org.

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How a College Basketball Reporter Keeps Up With the Madness

In the past, I have had to jump on breaking news that touches on the tournament but spills outside the realm of sports. Three years ago, it was Indiana’s religious freedom law and the N.C.A.A.’s immediate opposition; I will never forget Indianapolis’s Republican mayor giving me an interview about his opposition to the law, which was championed by the state’s governor and his fellow Republican, Mike Pence (and what ever happened to him?). Last year, my phone buzzed as I landed in Phoenix for the Final Four with the news that North Carolina was repealing its “bathroom law.” The next morning I ate breakfast huddled over my laptop, reporting and writing an article explaining that this political development had everything to do with college sports.

But then, the tournament invites the kind of sports story that is not really about sports. Every team is connected to a college — an institution with its own values; a campus in its own geographic location; a student body with its own tendencies. There is much more subtext than in professional leagues. The Ohio State football and basketball teams reflect and answer to the preferences and idiosyncrasies of Ohioans in a way that the Cincinnati Bengals and even LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers do not. With the possible exception of European soccer, there is no professional sport in which an article like the one I published last week, on the outsize basketball success of Catholic colleges, could exist.

The best stories, perhaps especially during the tournament (when readers are, after all, paying the most attention), tend to be about such connections between teams and their colleges’ cultures. My favorite March memories are not of the games themselves, but of reporting them.

They’re times like when, two years ago, Yale defeated heavyweight Baylor after more than half a century of not even being in the tournament, and the frantic calls I made to Yale alumni became an article about how they did not really understand what exactly they had won.

Or when, that same year, I got to hang out at the Monkey Wrench bar in Louisville, Ky., as the 1980 title game — Louisville 59, U.C.L.A. 54 — played on big screens. A scandal had cost the hometown team an appearance in the 2016 tournament; some fans were dealing with the fallout by having a kind of séance.

And like this year, when I had to pull into a Pennsylvania Turnpike rest stop last month to field a call from the coach of what had been U.M.B.C.’s most famous squad: the chess team, winner of six national championships.

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