Shame Agent

Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 66, No. 4, Summer 2017

22 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2017

See all articles by Joan W. Howarth

Joan W. Howarth

William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV; Michigan State University College of Law

Date Written: August 11, 2017


As a nation, we have recently experienced a significant positive shift in norms against casual campus sexual violence. These changes are perhaps as dramatic as the attitudinal shifts over recent decades regarding drunk driving or cigarette smoking. In a world in which masculinity is too often associated with sexual conquest, and women still suffer under intense and conflicting pressures regarding their sexual behavior, pushing this potential transformation forward is both difficult and necessary. Enforcement of Title IX protections has become a crucial driver of much of this change.

This is an account of some of what I learned as a participant in Title IX sexual misconduct enforcement at my law school and university. As with drunk driving and smoking, the newly strengthened norms against nonconsensual campus sex result from a combination of public activism, new laws and regulations, new enforcement of existing laws and regulations, and purposeful steps taken by strong institutional leaders. Michigan State University (MSU) exemplifies all this. Indeed, my optimism on these issues is grounded in my experience at MSU. MSU is a particularly good source of relevant lessons. MSU features some aspects of campus culture that have been found to be most related to sexual violence, including strong Greek life and heavy presence of athletics.

Keywords: Title IX, Campus Climate, Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Assault

Suggested Citation

Howarth, Joan W., Shame Agent (August 11, 2017). Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 66, No. 4, Summer 2017, Available at SSRN:

Joan W. Howarth (Contact Author)

William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV ( email )

4505 South Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

Michigan State University College of Law ( email )

318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics