[Updated, 4/2/17, 10:34PM] The post was updated to correct an error in authorship. This post was written by kitab and edited by wilk.
This February, the Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC) visited Wesleyan to assess our Title IX policies and procedures. Students were notified of their consultation in an all-campus email sent out by Antonio Farias on January 31st. There were three primary goals of the consultation, according to this email:
VRLC are charged with gathering information about the strengths and weaknesses of Wesleyan’s response to reports of sexual and gender-based misconduct, particularly:
- The clarity of resources for students, faculty, and staff;
- The accessibility of the process to all students, faculty, and staff, including underrepresented minorities, first-gen, low-income, and LGBTQ populations;
- The collaboration between the Title IX Office and other first responders.
Their 22-page final report was released on March 23 and emailed out in a classic Roth “Campus Update” this Wednesday. See after the jump for a summary of the report and some commentary.
Early this morning, posters like the one above appeared around campus, calling out institutional protection of sexual predators. Many were removed shortly thereafter, but as of mid-morning, some remain.
The posters follow increased anger with the administration last semester for a variety of institutional failures. In particular, students and faculty alike have criticized the lack of transparency surrounding the firing of former Associate Dean of Students Scott Backer and, before that, the Title IX complaint filed by Associate Professor of Classical Studies Lauren Caldwell, which states that she was repeatedly sexually harassed by a fellow professor. Last October, more than 200 students at a town hall meeting reached consensus to push for the removal of Vice President of Equity and Inclusion Antonio Farias and University President Michael Roth from their positions at the University. That same month, over 30 professors issued a statement to the Argus, calling for independent review of sexual assault cases at the University.
Trigger warning: This post discusses sexual assault and harassment. Below is a direct response to the recent Buzzfeed article on the current lawsuit against Wesleyan University.
I’m Melanie. At least, that’s what “Kevin” called me on Buzzfeed. In his lawsuit against the University, I’m simply Jane Doe. Jane Doe #1, to be precise, one of three who came forward against him.
I could have told this story before—when it first happened, or when I reported Kevin, or when I first heard that he was starting a lawsuit. But it wasn’t a story I wanted to tell—I didn’t even want to report what he did. What he did to me was shameful, and felt like a reflection on me. But now, he has told his version of the story—his victim-blaming story, in which he did no wrong, but was instead the target of a secret conspiracy. I can’t speak for the other women who reported him, though he lied about them, too. I speak only for myself.
On Buzzfeed, Kevin writes off what he did as drunk texting. He notes that when he texted me that night after midnight, drunk out of his mind and trying to hook up, he called me “babe” and “slut.” He says that, afterwards, I told him “we can definitely put it behind us.” Those things are true, but they’re not the whole story.