On Wednesday morning, Brett Sokolow asked students to serve as a jury. He challenged students’ notions of what constitutes sexual assault by presenting a case, and asking them for how they would rule. Mr. Sokolow is a risk management consultant and higher education attorney, with long experience.
Mr. Sokolow outlined the facts from a groundbreaking case that occurred on a college campus 14 years ago. He then invited students to ask questions about the encounter between “Amy” and “Todd.” After this discussion, the students indicated by a show of hands their reading of the defendant’s guilt or innocence. Only then did Mr. Sokolow share the actual verdict. The students were mainly divided on the case, a common outcome, Mr. Sokolow says, when he speaks on college campuses nationwide. He said he hoped the students would continue the conversation among themselves throughout the day. In fact, the conversation did continue, across campus, over the days since the speaker’s challenge.
Mr. Sokolow visited campus as the Talbot Speaker. Established in 1993, the Samuel S. Talbot II ’65 Memorial Fund for Counseling and Community Issues supports Milton’s efforts to teach about affective behavioral issues.
Mr. Sokolow is managing partner of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, a multidisciplinary risk management-consulting firm based in Malvern, Pennsylvania. A specialist in campus safety, security and sexual assault policy and law, he is the author of several books on the subjects.