Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



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© 2015 Bradford K. Richardson


In loco parentis, or “in place of the parent,” was the model that formerly governed the relationship between student and university. Student behavior on campus was closely monitored, as if each pupil were the son or daughter of the dean. The university was granted power to regulate the lives of its students closely, but was also charged with responsibility for their welfare. The cultural revolution of the 1960s changed this. Student rebellions aimed against any and all authority, coupled with judicial interference that severely hindered the university’s capacity to act as parent, effectively killed off the doctrine of in loco parentis. Now the relationship between university and student more closely resembles that of landlord and tenant.

These phenomena have coincided with the rise of the “campus rape epidemic,” or the notion that roughly 20 percent of women will be sexually assaulted during their college years. By comparing the sexual assault rate at schools that continue to practice in loco parentis to those that do not, this report will show that a return to the doctrine of university as parent can solve the problem of sexual assault on college campuses. In a survey of 657 colleges and universities around the nation, this paper will demonstrate that the sexual assault rate is lower at schools that attempt to regulate the lives of their students, such as with regard to alcohol and living arrangements. This is, in a sense, to state the obvious – or, at least, what was once obvious. Alcohol is involved in over half of all sexual assaults on campus, and 90 percent of sexual assaults occur in dorm rooms. By reducing the availability of alcohol on campus and by limiting the residence interactions between the sexes, the university can put an end to the campus rape epidemic.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.