Acts of Violence on College Campuses

Acts of Violence on College Campuses

Recently, there has been a rise in cases of violence in college campuses. Cases of violence in campus range from the Virginia Tech shooting, where a student went on the rampage and killed students and teacher before committing suicide.  Violence in campus can also include indecent acts such as sexual assault and dating/domestic abuse on college campuses.  Violent incidents involving female students has been on the rise as the females fall victims of sexual and relationship abuse.  With the ever increasing rates of violence in campus, it is evident that the situation is getting to alarming levels (Powers, 2008). As many scholars put it, violence on the college campus is now an epidemic that needs to be urgently addressed. Curbing violence in college campuses requires the involvement of the students; faculty and administration. Campuses and colleges are institutions of higher learning that should foster academic and social growth.  Other than formal classroom lessons, a safe learning environment allows students to focus primarily on attaining their life goals and establishing their pathways to careers of their choice.

Campuses on Violence

According to various investigative reports, colleges and campuses have poor response structures when it comes to managing sexual assault and misconduct cases (Loften, 2011). This is mainly because cases of violence in campus result to large financial settlement. Universities and campuses are also slow in responding to violence cases as they paint a negative image of the institutions.  In the occurrence of sexual violence or assault cases, university/college administrators prefer to ignore the problem like it never happened.  It is time; however, that universities and colleges take a leading role in halting acts of violence in college campuses.

Normally, there are various tell-tale signs that all is not well with a student.  Signs of stress, depression, and isolation are indicators that a student could be having underlying problems in his/her life. High performing students who suddenly begin to plummet in terms of performance should be a cause of concern to the faculty. Students who also show an abnormal inclination to violence in their assignments and class discussion must also be noted. These tell-tales do not necessarily mean that an individual is a victim of violence or is inclined to commit violence. However, they should not be ignored as they can lead to more severe cases of campus violence (Smith, 2012).Campuses such as Auraria in Denver have established a centre where students can have issues of interpersonal violence and sexual misconduct addressed. The centre offers confidential services on issues of interpersonal violence among the students (Loften, 2011). The centre also provides administrators and policy makers with a platform to attend training sessions and workshops related to interpersonal violence issues. Training on issues of violence in learning institutions prepares the college administration well on handling cases of violence when they arise.

Training also ensures that the policy makers are in a position to enact effective policies that will help eradicate the problem of violence.According to Paludi (2011), campuses should be more involved in detecting, managing and reducing the occurrence of campus violence. Cases of campus violence are rampant and range from hazing, robbery, homicide, stalking, cyber crime, and bullying. Paludi points out that, cases of rape are particularly common as 1 out of every 20 women in a campus is raped. Ironically, most of these rape cases go unreported as they are acquaintance rape (Smith, 2012). Acquaintance rape refers to sexual assault where the victim personally knows the rapist. In college, acquaintance rape occurrence between friends or individuals that are dating.  Acquaintance rape is thus common than rape by a stranger.Relationship violence is also common with 20% of women in campus relationship admitting to having been involved in a violent relationship.

The key to dealing with violence in campus is familiarizing the students with what violence entails. Most cases of violence in campus go unreported as most institutions lack the channels that victims can use to share their problems.  Other victims refuse to acknowledge that their experiences are acts of campus violence. The first step in managing violence in campus is establishing a safe and non retaliatory system where victims can freely report their concerns (Powers, 2008).  The success of such system depends on the training that the students, faculty and administration will be exposed to. The faculty should, for instance, be trained on how to detect signs of violence of their students. They should also be trained on how to assist the victims overcome the effects of the violent ordeal. If colleges take an active role in curbing violence, then the cases would significantly reduce. An active role means colleges must be able to track any cases of violence and report them to authorities.  Individuals involved in cases of domestic violence, cyber bullying and sexual assault must be reported and prosecuted according to the law.

Prosecution of offenders will be a lesson to other students on the severity of actions that they deem petty (Powers, 2008). Offenders involved in cases of sexual assault must face the full wrath of the court which involves arrest, court proceeding and passing of sentences. It is by acting on the violent acts that potential offenders will refrain from engaging in acts of violence.Learning institutions such as Hofstra University have taken the issue of student safety seriously. In an effort to enhance student safety within the campus, the school administration begun a public safety program. The program aims at helping students avoid situations that put them at risk of violence. The program gives students safety tips within the residence halls while using their vehicles and in social situations.  The program also educates students on avoiding situations that result to sexual violence.

In most instances, sexual violence situations arise due to influence of alcohol and drug abuse. The program educates its students on the risk of alcohol and drug misuse in relation to violence. The public safety program also gives students emergency lines that they can call in case the suspect or fall victim to violence (Hofstra University, 2012). Hofstra University also has a strict sexual misconduct policy that involves reporting a sexual misconduct, investigations and a disciplinary process. The sexual misconduct policy guarantees witnesses and victims that there shall be no retaliatory consequences for coming forth with evidence or information regarding a sexual misconduct. The campus also has a crisis management group that looks into cases of violence. The team offers students counseling and legal counsel if the need arises.

The university’s strict stance on acts of violence does not, however, guarantee that people will not commit crimes or admit to committing one. In 2009, for instance, one female students in Hofstra narrated how she was captured, and gang raped by a group of men who comprised of Hofstra male students (Hofstra University, 2012). Sexual violence events like above is an indication that strict restrictions do not guarantee safety amongst students in campus/colleges.  There is a need for learning institutions to have not just rules and policies, but also involve the student’s community in adopting these policies. University administrations must work with the student bodies to enlighten students on the need to create a safe environment.


Campus safety should be the focus on all the learning institutions in the country. Students need the guarantee that they are safe within and beyond the school vicinity. Cases of off and on campus crimes are on the rise raising the concern that campuses are no longer safe. The fight against violence in college campuses should involve all bodies within a community. These are the faculty, the students, the policy makers and parents who represent the society. Having an elaborate policy framework illustrating the dos and don’ts of violence in campuses does not guarantee a positive effect. The students must desire to create a violence free zone within the schools.Common violence cases such as rape and relationship violence should significantly reduce. The colleges should also create an environment that encourages communication and confidentiality. This will encourage victims of violence as well as witnesses to violence to report any acts of violence in college. Colleges and campuses must work together with the student fraternity and policy makers to establish viable polices that will guarantee the safety of the students. Other than formal classroom lessons, a safe learning environment allows students to focus primarily on attaining their life goals and establishing their pathways to careers of their choice.

Work Cited

Hofstra University, (2012). Public safety. Retrieved from

Loften, L. (2011). Students benefit from program responding to violence. Retrieved from

Powers, E. (2008). Campus violence viewed from afar. Retrieved from

Smith, M. (2012). Tracking violence against students.

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