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WWL: Sexual Assault on Campus
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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48:58 minutes (23.5 MB)
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One in five women who enter college will become a victim of rape or attempted rape before they graduate. These numbers are from a report funded by the Department of Justice. A subsequent nine-month investigation by the Center for Public Integrity shows that many victims never report the things that happen to them, and many who do end up feeling re-victimized by the process put in place to help them.

Today, Where We Live, a look at the widespread phenomenon of sexual assault on campus and the questions surrounding the way schools adjudicate crimes in-house. Universities say their mission is to educate, not to administer justice, to enforce behavioral codes, not laws. So why are schools handling serious accusations of rape and assault internally? And how do campus cultures of binge drinking and casual sex fuel a dangerous situation that can be confusing for everyone—most of all victims?

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As a parent of 3 young girls

As a parent of 3 young girls who will be attending college in the future;  I am out-raged that one fifth of female students are victims of a violent felony!!!!!!!   (if this was happening to male students would everyone involved be so complacent?)   This is a violent crime and should be treated as such.  Does living on a college campus allow men to rape without any punishment?  A college campus should involve the local police in the same manner they would any violent crime.  (when male students are injured or killed in altercations--police are involved in the investigation and the court system will punish those convicted).  The excuse that it is "difficult" to get at the truth in rape because the victim often knows the perpertrator is a poor excuse for lack of justice.  The alleged rapist has the right to a fair trial under our judicial system, just as the victim has the right to trial of the accused.   This is not an issue that falls under the realm of a "board" of people to listen to complaints.  This is a felony that should be treated as such.  Perhaps punishing rapists in prison may "persuade" other young men not to force young women to have sex with them, no matter how drunk or high everyone is.  If needed, perhaps the FBI should be invovlved in rape cases on college campuses, to make it clear that our society does not condone violence or felonies under any circumstances!!!   To pursue justice under the guise of breach of title 19, is complete disregard of the seriousness of this crime.   Thank you, Linda Weiss

Email from Wesleyan President Michael Roth

All colleges and universities in this country have developed policies and procedures to prevent rape and other violent crimes. But still these problems continue. No institution can afford to be complacent in this regard. At Wesleyan there have recently been a number of important conversations concerning sexual (gender) violence/prevention, and I applaud the efforts to bring these important and difficult issues to the fore. I also want to acknowledge the work of faculty, students, and staff, which not long ago led to the revision of our sexual misconduct and assault policy as well as to the creation of our Sexual Assault Resource Team (SART). SART consists of staff who serve as resources and advocate for students reporting offenses along with an intern for Wesleyan’s Health Services. We are engaged in a search to hire a Director of Health Education whose responsibilities include prevention and education around sexual violence and health. We also will continue to seek advice and recommendations from students, faculty and parents — whether they call for a dedicated staff position or any other idea for how to better deal with these issues.

Far too often on college campuses incidents of sexual violence go unreported, and I want to express my admiration for those who courageously come forward. Irrespective of questions of guilt or innocence in any particular case, the more attention we can bring to this awful problem, the better we can address it. There have been student, parent, staff, and faculty meetings this year to discuss the steps necessary to make Wesleyan an even safer environment in which all students can thrive. In order to build on these efforts, I have asked vice-presidents Sonia Manjon (Diversity and Strategic Partnerships) and Mike Whaley (Student Affairs) to lead a task force to gather the best thinking from the faculty, students and staff that should lead to further improvements to our policies and staffing. I expect to receive their recommendations by the end of the calendar year.

Violence, including the heinous crime of sexual violence, has no place on this campus. This is a lesson that was seared into our community’s memory a year ago. It is a foundational principle here, and we welcome the opportunity to review our policies and procedures with the goal of asserting and living up to that principle as strongly and consistently as we can.

Michael S. Roth, President

Wesleyan University

229 High Street

Middletown, Connecticut 06459