New ASU scholarship program aims to serve students, build legacies

March 12, 2014

New scholarship endowments will nurture spirit of philanthropy among the ASU community

Editor's Note: The ASU Foundation announces a new scholarship program designed to nurture the spirit of philanthropy among dedicated faculty, emeritus faculty, administrators and staff members of Arizona State University. The Maroon and Gold Leaders Giving Program allows them to create scholarship endowments for students with academic merit and financial need. Through the program, ASU will match 4 percent of an endowed scholarship commitment of $25,000 or more for 10 years, for a total match of $10,000. Since December, 16 faculty, administration and staff members have established an endowment, putting it closer to the ASU Foundation’s goal of $1 million. portrait of ASU professor Ted Humphrey Download Full Image

The program is an ideal way for faculty and staff members to create a legacy and continue to serve students in perpetuity. One of the first faculty members to contribute to the fund was Ted Humphrey.

In 1966, Arizona State University was small enough to publish an annual yearbook, the Sahuaro.

College Avenue still cut through the middle of campus.

Much of the desert stretching from Tempe was raw land.

And Ted Humphrey was a newly minted, untenured assistant professor in ASU’s philosophy department.

So when he says, “This campus is not recognizable from the time I came, and there’s no way in which it is recognizable,” he knows what he’s talking about.

And when he speaks of great changes at ASU, he doesn’t mean its physical transformation. Humphrey is bearing witness to ASU’s emergence as one of the best public universities in the world.

“ASU is not recognizable in terms of the quality and stature of the faculty, the national rankings of its programs, the quality of students who come here or its reputation,” Humphrey says. “This is a transformed institution. I doubt very much that there is another post-World War II institution in the United States that has made as much progress as this one has.”

An important driver of that progress was Humphrey himself.

In 1966, Humphrey was very much like the university he had just hitched his star to – young and full of potential.

Over the next 47 years, Humphrey and ASU would reach that potential together.

By 1974 Humphrey was chair of the philosophy department. By 1983 he was directing the university’s honors education, a program that at the time received scant attention or funding.

Within five years, Humphrey would lead the program to collegiate status. By 2005, Barrett, the Honors College would be named one of the best honors colleges in the country, and serve as a model for how to integrate outstanding honors education throughout a large, public university.

To be able to contribute such an important chapter to ASU’s story, he says, has been an immensely rewarding experience.

Cement a reputation, create a legacy

On the other side of 47 years, Humphrey is now considering his legacy at ASU.

That is why he is establishing a Maroon and Gold Leaders Giving Program scholarship endowment, taking advantage of a new initiative that allows ASU administrators, faculty, staff and emeritus faculty to create scholarship endowments for promising undergraduates with financial need.

A Maroon and Gold Leaders endowment will allow him to continue impacting students in a meaningful way and contributing to the university’s progress, even after he is no longer a daily presence on campus, Humphrey says.

“I’ve thought for a very long time about where I want to make my giving investments,” Humphrey says. He considered his alma maters, the University of California at Riverside and San Diego.

But he decided that his experience here, combined with ASU’s mission to extend education to first-generation college students, makes an endowment at ASU a worthwhile investment.

“I do feel that I’ve learned far more here than I did during my undergraduate and graduate education – not because they were deficient in any way,” Humphrey says. “It’s because I’ve been here for a long time; I’ve had the opportunity to do a great many things, and this institution is distinguished, even now, as serving the needs of first-generation college-goers.

“I am one of those,” he says.

Humphrey returned to the classroom in 2003 as a Barrett professor and Lincoln Professor of Ethics, a phase of his career he calls “extraordinarily rewarding.” His scholarship focuses on Latin American intellectual history, and includes two anthologies of writings by Latin American thinkers and a new, from-the-ground-up translation of Bernal Díaz del Castillo’s "True History of the Conquest of New Spain." It has been a blessing, he says, to teach “really wonderful students.”

He says he wants to help those students gain a meaningful education, and not come out of their educational experience deep in debt. Faculty, administrators and staff can be a big part of that, developing gift aid for students “to the highest degree possible.”

“As I look at it, I have spent almost my entire life, and certainly my professional life, in a beautiful environment with very smart colleagues, with very smart students – persons who in every way are extraordinarily talented and engaged – and I don’t quite know how to express it, but I’m thankful to be able to have had such a career as that.

“I think that any faculty who looks up and reflects on his or her situation just a little would come to the same conclusion,” he says.

Endowments are an especially useful tool in building a lasting culture of philanthropy because, well-managed, “they can go on forever,” Humphrey says.

“I think we need these permanent memorials,” he says. “We’re going to continue having students. We’re going to continue having a population that needs educational support. That’s not going to go away.”

For information on creating a Maroon and Gold scholarship endowment, please call Mary Negri at 480-965-0878 or visit

Melissa Bordow,
ASU Foundation Communications and Marketing

Copy writer, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College


ASU professor provides analysis for military sexual assault panel

March 12, 2014

When a panel of experts asked to fix the military’s problem with sexual assaults needed someone to put the issue into context, it turned to Cassia Spohn, a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University.

The Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel is conducting an assessment of the methods used to investigate and prosecute sexual assault crimes and related offenses within the military. The goal is to develop recommendations to improve the effectiveness of how the military justice system handles sexual assaults. portrait of ASU professor and criminologist Cassia Spohn Download Full Image

Spohn, a foundation professor and director of the doctoral program at the ASU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, spoke to the panel at a meeting held at the University of Texas at Austin on December 12, 2013. Spohn has spent two and a half decades researching processing decisions on sexual assault cases. Most of her work has focused on how prosecutors charge cases, but one of her recent research projects involved examining the processing of cases by law enforcement officers in Los Angeles.

Spohn was asked to review material from different branches of the military service and to compare and contrast the outcomes of sexual assault in the military justice system with the civilian justice system.

During Spohn’s one-hour presentation, titled “Statistical Analysis of Waterfall Slides,” she cautioned that comparing the two different systems of justice would be difficult. The type of military cases labeled as sexual assault included ones that involved touching, but not rape, whereas the civilian cases were limited to rape cases.

"The problem with making comparisons across civilian and military jurisdictions is that the the military services use a much more all-encompassing term, that is sexual assault, that includes both penetration and contact offenses," Spohn told the panel. "And what this means, of course, is that comparing numbers across these two systems, and more importantly, comparing changes over time is difficult, and the results of those comparisons may be misleading."

Spohn noted that military services data are more comprehensive and include the outcome of allegations for each of the branches of service, such as whether there was an arrest in a case and whether the arrest resulted in prosecution and conviction.

“By contrast, there are are no national data on outcomes of civilian cases that resulted in an arrest.”

A factor that complicated a thorough examination of military cases was the definitions used to describe the outcome of cases. One term in particular stood out – unfounding. FBI Uniform Crime Reporting guidelines suggest an alleged crime can be unfounded only if an investigation determines it to be false or baseless. In the civilian system, Spohn said if an investigating police officer doesn’t believe a victim’s story and concludes a crime did not occur, the case is called “unfounded.” But she pointed out that some “unfounded” cases in the civilian system involve victims whose stories are believed, but the likelihood of conviction is low.

By comparison, in the military system, if a criminal investigation determines that the individual accused of sexual assault didn’t commit the offense, or it was improperly reported or recorded as a sexual assault, the allegations against the suspect are considered to be unfounded. Spohn found who decides to unfound the case also differs. In the civilian justice system, that decision is made by police. In the Army, prosecutors have the responsibility, while base commanders make that determination in other service branches.

“And so not only are the definitions of unfounding different, but the procedures that are used to unfound cases are different as well,” Spohn said.

The ASU professor told the military panel that in the 1990s, data reported to the FBI estimated about eight percent of rape complaints were unfounded. Spohn’s own research with another criminologist found that rate was almost 11 percent for Los Angeles Police Department sexual assault cases they studied from the years 2005 to 2009.

When it comes to unfounded cases in the military justice system, the percentage was double in 2012. Spohn said 363 of 2,057 sexual assault cases, or 17.6 percent, were unfounded by military prosecutors. An additional 81 cases, or 4.8 percent, were unfounded by commanders, creating a total unfounding rate of 22.4 percent.

“This is substantially higher than the eight percent rate reported by the FBI for forcible rape during the 1990s, but we have to keep in mind that the term sexual assault as used by the military includes offenses other than forcible rape,” said Spohn. “Thus, the rates are not directly comparable since they do include these touching offenses as well as the penetration offenses.”

Spohn also compared the rates at which suspects were charged in the military justice system compared to the civilian justice system. Again, she cautioned about making direct comparisons, as the military cases involved alleged crimes ranging from touching to penetration. Civilian cases involved alleged penetration only.

“So in an attempt to sort of summarize what all of this means, there are problems with determining both the denominator and the numerator, and this makes calculating rates – particularly for the military services – difficult, and it makes making comparison across systems somewhat problematic,” Spohn told the panel. “With these important caveats in mind, the rates appear to be somewhat lower for the military system. The overall military rate is 36.8 percent if we think of prosecution as court-martial charges divided by subjects in cases in which DOD (Department of Defense) action is possible.”

Spohn found a comparable prosecution rate for the civilian system was 50 percent.

She suggested that there needs to be consistency in definitions, policies and procedures across the military services. Spohn called for a closer look at how the military services determine a case is unfounded.

"I think that one thing that should be done is there should be some kind of analysis to determine why the unfounding rate is higher for the Department of Defense than for civilian jurisdictions," Spohn said. "This would involve a case file review that would be designed to determine if cases that are unfounded are, in fact, false or baseless, or if unfounding is being used to dispose of what might be referred to as problematic cases."

The ASU criminologist advised the panel addressing sexual assaults in the military that cases that are not prosecuted, or that result in dismissal or acquittal, should also be examined. Spohn said there ought to be attention paid to the role of victim cooperation or lack of victim cooperation.

“Research in the civilian justice system reveals that this is a key factor in cases handled by the civilian court system,” said Spohn. “But I would argue that a related research question would be why do victims decide not to cooperate with the prosecution of the case?”

The Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel will submit its findings to the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives through the General Counsel of the Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense. The panel’s final report is expected in December of 2014.

Paul Atkinson

assistant director, College of Public Service and Community Solutions