arizona state university

Arizona law requires the names of sexual-assault victims in crime reports to be made public. But Arizona State University refuses to turn over the names of 36 victims in response to a request by the Arizona Republic – or even ask the victims if they’d like to talk to a reporter.

The rationale? It could “trigger” the victims. More likely, it could “trigger” bad PR for ASU if the victims speak.

Media blog Romenesko has the details, which involve a series that reporter Anne Ryman is writing about sexual assault at the school and the criminal-justice process for students who allege they were assaulted.

Gannett, the newspaper owner, and the school have been arguing for four months on what should be a point of settled law:

“[ASU chief media officer Sharon Keeler] stated the names would not be released on grounds that it would have a chilling effect on sexual violence reporting,” Gannett attorney Courtney French wrote a letter to ASU’s assistant police chief. “While we appreciate ASU’s efforts to ensure all incidents of sexual violence on campus are reported and investigated, withholding victims’ names is not consistent with Arizona law.”

The Arizona Criminal Code, says the newspaper’s lawyer, “requires the victim’s name to be made public [and] as a result, the ASU PD’s redaction of victims’ names in this case is unlawful.”

In a reply letter, ASU’s attorney cites a statute that appears to contradict the school’s position:

B. A victim’s identifying and locating information that is obtained, compiled or reported by a law enforcement agency or prosecution agency shall be redacted by the originating agency and prosecution agencies from records pertaining to the criminal case involving the victim including discovery disclosed to the defendant.

C. Subsection B does not apply to:

1. The victim’s name.

“Identifying and locating information” means date of birth, social security number, ID number such as driver’s license, address, phone number, email and place of employment.

It’s really hard to see how the school can ignore the plain language of the statute that victims’ names are not to be redacted.

ASU says Ryman would be reduced to “cold calling” people whose names match those in the crime reports:

Such an approach is completely contrary to the leading guidance that universities, as well as law enforcement agencies, should be training and using trauma-informed and victim-centered protocols to encourage the reporting of sexual assaults and improve the rate of prosecutions for crimes of sexual violence.

Crying “trigger” is the strongest legal argument ASU’s got – it won’t even ask victims if they want to talk, Romenesko says:

“[W]e concluded that making such a contact could be a trigger event that is inconsistent with a trauma-informed, victim-centered approach.”

The university says reminders of the attack or abuse can cause flashbacks, and “we believe cold calls or emails by a reporter to individuals who might possibly be the correct Jane or John Doe could also be a trigger event.”

Ryman has previously reported that ASU settled two lawsuits faulting its handling of sexual-assault allegations – one cost the school $850,000.

It’s not the first time the school has made flimsy redaction excuses in response to the paper’s requests: It blacked out “concerns expressed by the university’s police officers” from the minutes of an “advisory board to the chief of the campus police,” according to a September column in the Republic (the paper found out anyway):

They didn’t want you to know that the university’s main campus was sometimes staffed by only two officers on a shift. (The department’s own policy requires four.) They also didn’t want you to know that their officers are sometimes unfamiliar with the areas they police during “party patrols” and that they have difficulty communicating with Tempe police officers because they use different equipment.

Harmful information? I don’t think so; the specific understaffed shifts weren’t revealed. More likely, school officials were embarrassed by the short staffing and lack of training.

Embarrassment seems an accurate guess for why ASU won’t release the victims’ names – they might trash-talk the school for how it handled their allegations.

Read the Romenesko post.

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Being born with one leg was never a disability to Anthony Robles

The last seven minutes of Anthony Robles’ wrestling career came to an end as he hobbled to the center of the mat, the referee raised his hand high, and millions of viewers witnessed history.

Born with one leg, no one imagined Robles would finish his senior year at Arizona State University’s Division One wrestling program with a 36-0 record and ultimately become a NCAA national champion.

That was in March 2011. Today, he is a motivational speaker, and often shares with high school and college students how he became a champion.

What millennials can learn from his journey is not only how to overcome obstacles and the value of hard work, determination and perseverance – but that the victimhood mentality so prevalent today is detrimental to success.

In a speech at Grand Canyon University’s wrestling camp shortly after he won the title, he didn’t talk to the athletes about how he tried to rise to the top of the sport with only one leg. It didn’t even come up.

He only spoke of how he became a better wrestler, period, and he did it by emanating champions and sticking to it – even when he wanted to quit. He did more. He pushed harder. He stayed longer. onthemat

“Wherever you go, whatever is it – if you have that dream in your head, just stick with it,” he told the students. “Just have a national champion mindset. Just tell yourself, you’re a champion. Whatever you do, you’re a champion. It will help you. You start believing in it.”

An uphill battle

Robles’ journey to his national championship match wasn’t easy. As a high school wrestler, many teammates and opponents didn’t take him seriously. However, Robles knew his calling.

“God made me for a reason, and I believe that reason was for wrestling,” he told USA Today.

But there were plenty of naysayers. People who scoffed, who only saw a victim, only saw the handicap.

In an interview with the Jimmy V Foundation, Judy Robles recalls her son’s earliest experience on the mat: “I went in the stands and my son threw down his crutches and he hopped to the middle of the mat. There’s this scrawny little kid, my son, and I was so proud of him. But this woman was laughing. It broke my heart.”

Over countless hours of training, Robles began to wrestle in a way that was unstoppable.

Some saw Robles’ missing limb as a disadvantage at first, then they changed their mind.

“When he first started it was like ‘oh, poor thing,’ you know, or ‘good for him, he’s trying,’ ” his mother said. “Then, as he started winning, it was ‘Well he’s got an advantage because he’s got all that upper body strength and people can’t get low enough.’ And I’m like ‘No, the kid just figured out how to beat you guys.’ ”

Go time

In March 2011, at the NCAA Division One wrestling tournament in Philadelphia, many knew it was Robles’ time to shine. Defending 125-pound champion Matt McDonough (Iowa) was the wrestler to beat, and Robles could then show the world that even physical differences – what some might consider disabilities – cannot stop faith, determination, drive and talent.

Ranked as the No. 1 seed entering the tournament, it was imperative Robles made a statement in the first round. Robles came out strong when matched against Matthew Snyder (UVA). By staying low, Snyder was forced to play by Robles’ rules and he failed miserably. In the second period, the referee ended the match due to a technical fall—Robles ultimately won by mercy rule with a score of 17-1. Similarly, Robles defeated Steven Keith (Harvard) in the second round with a technical fall.

The quarterfinals and semifinals were not a breeze, but Robles managed to defeat Jarrod Patterson (Oklahoma) and Ben Kjar (Utah Valley) to enter the finals.

Kjar, known for his upper body strength as well, had matched Robles on his knees in the neutral position instead of staying on both feet.

“He [Kjar] was definitely the strongest opponent I’ve ever faced,” Robles told USA Today. “But the coaches and I came up with a good strategy before the match just to stay patient.”

Finally, racing down the red carpet on crutches and with the crowd roaring, Robles entered the most important match of his college career—a match that would decide whether he would go undefeated, whether he would be remembered, and whether he would be labeled a champion.

“For anybody to give Anthony any credit, it had to be the best of the best,” his mom told the Jimmy V Foundation.

Robles and defending 125-pound champion McDonough meet at the center of the mat, shook hands, and stared at each other intensely. After the ref blew the whistle, each opponent tried to anticipate one another’s moves, but Robles acted as if he owned the mat.

He forced McDonough to wrestle out of his comfort zone. Unlike Kjar, McDonough struggles—McDonough and Robles have never faced each other on the mat before, and McDonough discovers quickly it is difficult to transition and shoot on an opponent without a leg. The moment Robles lowers his center of gravity, it is evident McDonough tries to grab the leg, but nothing is there. The notion of disbelief is present as the defending champion looks as if he’s never wrestled a day in his life when paired against Robles.

With strong head position and wrist control, Robles snaps down McDonough to his knees, turns the corner sharply, and impressively succeeds as the referee grants Robles two points. The crowd roars, and in the first minute of the match McDonough is left stunned.

McDonough is now in the worst position to be in this sort of match: underneath Robles. Through upper body pressure and brute strength, Robles managed to stay on top of the defending champion and fight for riding time. Once riding time is confirmed, Robles punishes McDonough through the use of a tilt, earns back points, and tilts again before the first period comes to an end.

Ultimately, the final score sat at 7-1, and Robles basked in the glory – his hand raised by the ref, the crowd roaring, the undefeated record.

Inspiring others

Robles continues to spread his story and encourage others through motivational speeches.

“Every soul who comes to Earth with a leg or two at birth must wrestle his opponents knowing it’s not what is, but what can be that measures worth,” he says on his website. “Make it hard, just make it possible and through pain, I won’t complain. My spirit is unconquerable. Fearless I will face each foe for I know I am capable. I don’t care what’s probable, through blood, sweat and tears I am unstoppable.”

In fact, Robles has given hope to students who face similar challenges across the nation.

For example, in 2012, Robles gave radio interview in Kansas.

“About a week later, he [Robles] received an e-mail from the host, who said Robles would want to hear about a high-school senior who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. The talk-show host said that, when the senior named Jason awoke in the hospital, he said, ‘I’m going to be all right because I’m going to be like Anthony Robles,’” reports azcentral.com.

Through the Washington Speakers Bureau, Robles gives speeches on topics such as achievement, courage, motivation, inspiring lives, and more.

By visiting Brigham Young University—Idaho and other institutions, it is apparent that Robles’ inspiring story will continue to show young people that a disability is only disability if it’s perceived as such.

College Fix reporter Austin Yack is a student at the University of California – Santa Barbara.

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So argues Arizona State’s Desiree Pharias in her State Press op-ed:

[Cole] Swindell sings to a girl and proposes a “little late-night pick me up.” He then openly tells her if she is lonely, and quite frankly, vulnerable enough tonight, she can go ahead and give him a call. He goes far enough to say if she’s “in the mood for a little regret” his offer stands evermore. Truthfully, when this song comes on, I instantly change the station, as I don’t appreciate his allusion to a one-night stand by saying, “We ain’t gotta make up, just kiss me, we could straight up blame it on the whiskey.” Bravo, Mr. Swindell! You disguised a proposition for a one-night stand in such a way that it almost sounds romantic.

While rap can be disregarded by those who are uncomfortable with its blatant misogyny, country music has a more subtle approach towards disrespecting women. It is precisely because of this that it is a more powerful vehicle of sexism. The singers of these songs are wholesome, respectful, country boys that your mom would want you to marry. In fact, she might be listening to them in her Toyota minivan right now.

Gosh, subtle (suggestive) messages in popular country music? And even more powerful than rap where demeaning, misogynist vulgarities fly out every few seconds? Who knew?

Unlike Ms. Pharias, I can’t stomach country music. I frequently playfully mock my fiancée — a big country music fan — about how you’re guaranteed to hear the following in every country song’s lyrics: truck, dog, beer, and whiskey.

About the most suggestive thing I’ve heard in a country song is when David Nail (yes, I had to look it up) sings “She’s got the blue jeans painted on tight …” Wha … how dare he objectify women like that!

Read the full article here.

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Kegs, beer bongs and flip cup will no longer be staples of tailgating at Arizona State University Sun Devil football games under new rules approved by the school last month.

ASU joined its neighboring public universities in banning such activities in tailgating areas at games, citing public safety. The rules ban kegs or any other “common source of alcohol,” “drinking apparatuses” such as beer bongs and “drinking games” such as “beer pong, shot gunning, and flip cup.”

The university and Sun Devil Athletics said in a joint statement that the keg ban would “improve the experience for students, residents in surrounding communities and Sun Devil Nation.”

The new rules were recommended by the Statewide Student Safety Task Force to the Arizona Board of Regents, which set up the task force last fall to devise “new ways to promote healthy behaviors and activities for students,” the statement said.

ASU said it was “aligning itself” with Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona, which have similar policies.

The new rules let fans “have a great atmosphere inside and outside of Sun Devil Stadium for home football games,” ASU spokeswoman Sharon Keeler told The College Fix in an e-mailed statement. They are intended to cut down on drinking-related injuries and accidents, as well as promote healthy choices, she said.

Keeler and Margaret Emmons, another ASU spokeswoman, declined to tell The College Fix whether Northern Arizona or UA had seen a reduction in drinking-related incidents following their restrictions on tailgating. ASU did not say whether it would revisit the ban in the future.

Neither Northern Arizona nor UA responded to requests for comment.

tailgating2.BlakePatterson.flickrAlumni and students had mixed reactions to the ban in comments on a Facebook post by ASU’s State Press campus newspaper . Multiple commenters said the new restrictions would encourage students to enjoy the games for the football, not for drinking. (The post is only visible by clicking the “all stories” tab on the State Press Facebook timeline.)

Others thought that without kegs and drinking games the pre-game atmosphere would be ruined and drive students and other fans away from the games. One alumnus commented that as a “season ticket holder (40+ years for my family) this is angering.”

“College football is about the entire experience,” a commenter named Eric Johnson wrote. “If the administration makes it ‘just about football’ then people will watch from home instead of coming to the stadium.”

Schools in other states have also banned kegs during tailgating after an accident or death.

Yale’s ban in 2012 followed the death of a woman struck by a U-Haul truck that a student was driving to a tailgating party outside the Yale Bowl, according to the New Haven Register.  Oversized vehicles, along with kegs, were banned in an attempt to make the pre-game atmosphere safer and more family-friendly.

This year, California Polytechnic State University implemented a new alcohol-availability policy for sorority and fraternity parties that “reinforces a ban on hard alcohol, kegs and other large-volume containers,” the University Herald reported. A first-year student “died from alcohol poisoning during a fraternity ritual” in 2008, leading to increased scrutiny of fraternity and sorority parties.

College Fix contributor Matt Lamb is a student at Loyola University-Chicago.

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The National Security Agency, now defined largely by Edward Snowden’s revelations about its pervasive reach into every sphere of digital life, is aiming to put a positive light on its work by growing its educational presence in universities nationwide.

Five new universities were added to the NSA’s National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations Program. New York University, Towson University, West Point, University of Cincinnati and University of New Orleans qualified to receive the designation for the 2014-2019 academic years, the NSA said last month.

The effort is designed “to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in IA [information assurance] and producing a growing number of professionals with IA expertise in various disciplines,” the NSA said.

The program has stirred controversy, though.

Arizona State Sen. Kelli Ward, a Republican, introduced a bill to ban the NSA from recruiting at state university campuses, the Fourth Amendment Protection Act (SB-1156), as The College Fix reported in January. Arizona State and the University of Arizona both work with the NSA under the National Centers of Academic Excellence Program.

SB-1156, the first to be introduced based on model NSA legislation from the Tenth Amendment Center, was not approved before the Legislature adjourned for the year. An Arizona State law professor told the ASU State Press that the bill, which also bars state cooperation with the NSA in legal and financial matters, would violate the federal Supremacy Clause if enacted.

While several other states’ lawmakers have jumped on board, the model legislation has yet to be approved anywhere, according to the Tenth Amendment Center’s tally.

One enthusiastic participant in the NSA Cyber Operations Program is Auburn University, whose computer science and software engineering department has worked with the NSA since the early 2000s and was accepted with the program’s establishment in 2013.

Madeline Duncan, a junior at Auburn, told The College Fix she hopes that the Fourth Amendment Protection Act does not make its way into law.

“If the NSA programs are kept out of schools, students are deprived of an opportunity,” Duncan said. “If the NSA is allowed on campuses, than students are given a choice. No one is being forced to take a job with the NSA or involuntarily being educated by the NSA. When choice is taken away, that’s when it becomes a concern.”

Kai Chang, department chair, has watched the program grow for more than a decade.

“Well, I think it has done a great job for us, especially attracting our students to participate in cyber security,” Chang said. “I think the reason we have success is … faculty members [are] very aggressive in attracting students to the program.” The NSA also provides support to faculty and students through scholarships, he added.

No outside work for the NSA is performed on the campus, with Auburn sticking to a strict program that has pleased both the faculty and students, Chang said.

“As college students, we should be able to make our own decisions regarding what’s best for ourselves, education and careerwise,” Duncan said.

College Fix contributor Courtney Such is a student at Furman University.

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Update on this story from two weeks ago: The Arizona State University professor whose videotaped arrest drew national attention and claims of racial profiling has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of resisting arrest.

Reuters reports that English professor Ersula Ore accepted a plea deal in Maricopa County Superior Court in which her aggravated-assault charge was dropped. The county attorney’s spokesman said she’ll probably get probation when she’s sentenced Aug. 1.

Some Ore supporters claimed she was targeted for jaywalking on a street where everyone had to cross to avoid construction, and that she defended herself from the arresting officer’s “grabbing” while her dress was up.

The FBI will continue its civil-rights investigation into the incident, requested by the school, despite Ore’s plea deal, Reuters said.

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