Content warning: This posts discusses sexual assault/predatory behavior towards minors and contains images/video of Scott Backer
Former Associate Dean of Students Scott Backer was arrested today in West Hartford for soliciting sexual conduct with a minor over Yik Yak. The Hartford Courant reported the arrest and Fox61 confirmed that the Scott Backer arrested was indeed the same Scott Backer that was fired from Wesleyan after the university learned from the Boston Globe that he had previously been fired from Vermont Academy for sexual misconduct.
[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.
I really don’t think there’s “nothing amiss.”
Yesterday, President Michael S. Roth posted about the revelation that former Associate Dean of Students Scott Backer had been fired from Vermont Academy in 2007 for sexual harassment and misconduct, as exposed in a Boston Globe article published Saturday night. Then, this afternoon, he sent out an email announcement to all members of the Wesleyan campus community realizing that he had never apologized for the situation.
With a subject line reading “An Apology,” Roth’s email expressed guilt and a feeling of responsibility for Backer’s presence at Wesleyan, but both in his original blog post and in his subsequent email, it’s obvious Roth hasn’t really been listening to what students, faculty, staff, and alumni have been saying (or read our editorial).
Almost hilariously, he limits the scope of our outrage simply to Backer’s initial hiring in 2007 and to his leadership position in university misconduct proceedings, ignoring community concerns about administrative opacity, inefficacy, and general shadiness. So I have some stuff to say about his blog post and so-called “apology.”
From Rachel Verner ’15:
The Title IX Student Advisory Committee wants your feedback! We’ll be hosting an all-campus forum to discuss what changes students want made to Wesleyan’s current Title IX Policy/Procedure, with a specific focus on the Sexual Misconduct Policy. The student input gained from the session will be used to inform policy changes that will be made for the Spring semester.
Check out the Facebook event for more information!
Time: 7-9 PM
Place: Daniel Family Commons
Short answer: It sometimes seems that way, but it’s a bit more complicated than judicial points.
Image via Jezebel, because they have an art director and we don’t.
Last Friday I published an FAQ about some of the questionable means by which Wesleyan’s administration is trying to block Tour de Franzia from happening this year. Since then, the post has attracted well over 4,000 views, thirty-odd mostly heated comments, and yet another Jezebel feature, this one headlined “Wesleyan’s Tour de Franzia Meltdown Reaches Ridiculous New Levels.” (It has even attracted the attention of the Brian Lehrer Show, which questioned whether Wesleyan was right to warn parents about “the annual Tour De Franzia drinking-while-biking event.” Don’t give us any ideas, Brian Lehrer.) In addition to pointing out fairly obvious infringements on student rights, much of the discussion has centered on a minor point in my post, which I only learned by way of a tweet from @WesUnity: the minimum number of judicial points assigned for participating in Tour de Franzia this year (six) is higher than the minimum number of judicial points assigned for committing sexual assault or misconduct (five). Here’s how some people are responding to this data point: