Wesleyan University’s student newspaper has reported several incidents of sexual assault on campus. The reports have prompted a lot of dialogue at the school about how to deal with the issue. WNPR’s Diane Orson reports.
20-year old Wesleyan University sophomore Joanna Bourain says she was raped by another student in late March, after leaving a campus party where kids were drinking.
"I had decided to come home, but I had lost my key. And this person saw me and he essentially put his arm around me was like..its going to be ok. And after that point I mean I don’t entirely remember a lot of what happened. But he…took advantage of the situation that was occurring."
Bourain reported the incident to university officials, and there was a hearing. A panel of faculty and staff found there was not enough evidence to declare the alleged rapist in violation of Wesleyan’s sexual misconduct and assault policy. Bourain wrote about her experience in the student newspaper, the Wesleyan Argus. Days later, another student wrote about her sexual assault. Both students are critical of the way the university deals with the issue. Rick Culliton is Wesleyan’s dean of students and asst. vice-president for student affairs.
"The University takes these cases very seriously. These are challenging cases. Most of these cases involve drinking by one or both parties. Typically there are no corroborating witnesses in the incident."
Culliton says there have been five reports of sexual misconduct and assault this year. In four cases the attacker has been found in violation of school policy. University officials allow students to decide if they want to report the incidents to police. A U.S. Department of Justice national report finds that 1 in 5 women will be the victim of rape or attempted rape while in college.
For WNPR, I’m Diane Orson.