A cursory reading of the history of US colleges and universities reveals that campus crime has been part of collegiate life since the Colonial Era, yet it was not until the late 1980s that it suddenly became an issue on the public stage. Drawing from numerous mass media and scholarly sources and using a theoretical framework grounded in social constructionism, this text chronicles how four groups of activists - college student advocates, feminists, victims and their families, and public health experts - used a variety of tactics and strategies to convince the public that campus crime posed a new danger to the safety and security of college students and the ivory tower itself, while simultaneously convincing policymakers to take action against the problem. Readers from a range of disciplinary interests will find the book both compelling and valuable to understanding campus crime as a newly constructed social reality.
"Increasingly, advocates denounce the college campus-once considered peaceful groves of academe-as a dangerous place, ridden with violent crime, sexual assault, and binge drinking. The Dark Side of the Ivory Tower identifies the people promoting these alarming claims, and explains how and why these problems became a focus for public concern. It offers a reasoned assessment of some of our most prominent campus panics."-Joel Best, University of Delaware
"John Sloan and Bonnie Fisher, leading scholars of campus crime, have written a fascinating account of how the `dark side' of the American university has been uncovered by activists, survivors, and researchers. Sloan and Fisher reveal how seemingly disconnected issues-murder, rape, liability for campus victimization, and binge drinking-have been reframed as part of a major new problem for colleges. This book is mandatory reading for those concerned with American higher education. Experts will appreciate its tightly-organized argument and comprehensive scholarship about the rise of social problems. Students in courses about social issues, crime, and public health will appreciate its readability, clarity, and lively style. Parents and the general public will learn about a troubling part of the reality of the contemporary academy. University administrators will ponder how to balance the educational missions of their institutions with the safety and security needs of their students. In all, an excellent, thoughtful, and highly readable book."-George W. Dowdall, Saint Joseph's University
"In The Dark Side of the Ivory Tower, Sloan and Fisher review how activists and the media have influenced the public perception of campus crime in the United States. Those interested in knowing more about how social/political issues are constructed will find their explanations most instructive. Anyone interested knowing more about the agenda setting and policy-making processes of government will find this to be an invaluable case study." -Steve Janosik, Virginia Tech
"This book by two leading scholars is an important case study of the recent evolution of campus crime as a social problem in need of public policy responses. It is well-researched and thorough, tracing the history of campus crime and illustrating the powerful effect of interest groups in bringing this social problem to the forefront of public consciousness in recent years. It will serve as an important resource for researchers, students and policymakers who are interested in the social construction of crime and campus crime more specifically. It is a must-read for people who care about what is really happening on college campuses across the nation."-Jodi Lane, University of Florida
"John Sloan and Bonnie Fisher provide a succinct historic perspective on crime and violence on college campuses and an engaging and thought-provoking assessment on the social construction of 'campus crime'.... [T]his book is a valuable addition to a crime policy class and can be integrated into many other classes-including Victimology. It is easily comprehendible for students and serves as a jumping off point for further discussions of campus crime." - Crime, Law, and Social Change