17Town Halls, Campaigns, and Safe Spaces: How Campus Responses to Violence Further Marginalize Vulnerable Populations

Emily A. Johnson, Saralyn McKinnon‐Crowley, Aaron Voyles, and Alma J. Salcedo

Though the popular perception of higher education as an “ivory tower” implies that institutions are impregnable fortresses, physically separate from the outside world, this metaphor is often inaccurate. The same violence that was part of the regular news cycle in the past few years affects colleges and universities as much as the rest of the country. Institutions face safety and campus climate threats from campus visitors, trespassers, and their own affiliates. A brief survey of campus climate and violence incidents from 2016 and 2017 confirmed this troubling pattern. At the University of Texas at Austin in April 2016, dance student Haruka Weiser was strangled on campus property (Byknish 2017). In June 2016, Mainak Sarkar, a former doctoral student at the University of California, Los Angeles, shot and killed William Klug, his thesis advisor, and subsequently committed suicide (Wang 2016). Contemporary campus incidents included more than physical violence. At the University of Michigan in November 2016, three separate incidents of religious and ethnic discrimination occurred: one student was pushed down a hill due to her religion, another was required to remove her hijab under threat of being set on fire, and a third found a swastika on the door of his residence (Biglin 2016).

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