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The Trump Tape, Higher Ed and Consent

October 10, 2016

The Washington Post article and recording of Donald Trump boasting about how he tried to have sex with women and groped them without asking is having major reverberations in the political world. And it is also prompting considerable discussion in higher education, where a major part of the campaign against sexual assault has centered on the idea that sex without consent is rape.

Laura L. Dunn, founder and executive director of SurvJustice, which promotes efforts to prevent and punish sexual assault on campus and elsewhere, said via email that the group avoids statements that could be seen as partisan. But she said that the comments from Trump in 2005 merit a response. She said that the group would comment on statements that are "antithetical" to its work, statements "such as a national figure making comments that suggest his fame entitles him to 'do anything,' to a woman such as 'grab them by the pussy.' Of further concern is his suggestion that their silence (which he knows is driven by his fame) further allows him to take such advantage. This kind of speech and mentality promotes and condones sexual aggression and male entitlement over the bodies of women."

On Saturday, Alexandra Smith, national chair of the College Republicans, announced that she would no longer support Trump.

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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