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A Campus Responds: Columnist and reader-submitted reactions

FOLLOWING THE NEWS that the University of Massachusetts allowed a rapist to remain enrolled after confessing his crime, DailyCollegian.com reached out to its columnists and readers to either give their reaction to the news or answer the question, What should the University be doing about sexual assault on campus? We’ve compiled their responses here, with emphasis on their stronger points. Email comments to managingeditor@dailycollegian.com

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The root cause of rape of women by men in this society is because men and women simply don’t talk to each other enough to feel like they’re part of the same species. We all have a lot in common… and once men (especially) can connect to women on a friend-level in general, they would have to be sociopaths to still rape them.

Another cause is a culture amongst many men who see having sex as a trophy to prove their self worth. Higher self-esteem is a great solution for this.

MICHAEL WEINTRAUB, UMASS PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR

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The campus administration should be ashamed of themselves. This is exactly why the majority of women who are sexually assaulted do not come forward and tell the police.

Not expelling this person or reporting his confession to the police is a serious breach of ethics that should not be tolerated. I’ve read a lot of the comments on The Globe story and many of them have an issue with the victim not reporting it to the police. Yes, in a perfect world the victim would have gone to the police and reported the assault herself, but it is in no way her fault, and it in no way gives the University the right to allow this student to remain on campus.

It’s absolutely disgusting to me that my university reacted this way to a serious crime against a woman, and then people act surprised that she did not report the crime. Yes, she should have pressed charges. But she also shouldn’t have been put in this position, and she is not the one to blame. Punish the perpetrator, not the victim.

LAUREN VINCENT, COLLEGIAN COLUMNIST

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To say this case was mishandled is at the very best a pitiful understatement. Deferred suspension? No possible appeal by anyone other than the accused? A man (too generous a term) has by his own admission committed a violent and disgusting crime, and our University, through irrevocable administrative error and subsequent administrative oversight, lets him continue to share our hallways, our dining halls, and our public transit; All of this the courtesy of inept and inappropriate administrative decisions and structuring.

What Kim fails to acknowledge is that this was a human error perpetuated by laziness and occupational inadequacy up and down Whitmore’s chain of command; inadequacy and laziness which has, for the time being, allowed a guilty man to continue his education with nothing more than a lenient slap on the wrist for a felony punishable by 20 years in prison (according to Thursday’s Globe).

So seniors, when you’re wearing your caps and gowns and walking at your college graduation, do not forget who walks with you. And do not forget who let him do so.

CHARLIE FELDER, COLLEGIAN COLUMNIST

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I would find it more than condescending to the victim to suggest that anything less than expulsion be necessary, however it happens the admitted offender was allowed to come back to campus and finish his degree.  What could plausibly be the most disgusting part of how this was handled was how it was represented: the Vice Chancellor Jean Kim reported that the whole scenario was simply “unfortunate.”

Being a former TA here at UMass and subsequently dealing with a case myself, I know that plagiarism is enough to get a student expelled.  I have seen it happen with my own eyes.  As such, the message we are getting from this is that it will not be tolerated by the school to take another individual’s ideas, but to take someone else’s body for your own sexual purposes deserves a slap on the wrist.  It was a very inappropriate and far too mild consequence, and should be coercively rebutted on behalf of the university’s reputation.

SHANE NICKERSON, COLLEGIAN COLUMNIST


Comments
2 Responses to “A Campus Responds: Columnist and reader-submitted reactions”
  1. Cato says:

    These comments really show the snap judgements of this campus community. Signing off as “responsible” to charges and a sanction from the dean of students’ office is NOT a confession, it is equivalent to a PLEA BARGAIN in criminal law. The individual who was accused of rape was offered a chance to accept the sanction of deferred suspension rather than face a hearing board (and expulsion). The fact that they offered him deferred suspension hints that they didn’t have very much evidence against him… in my mind, what this campus community has assumed to be a factual event, becomes more of her-word-against-his because of this relatively weak sanction. To avoid a formal hearing, he would have been asked to accept “responsibility” for the charges and accept the sanction of deferred suspension. Even if he was able to present evidence to defend himself at the hearing, there is a large chance he will still be found responsible and receive a harsher sanction of expulsion or actual suspension. Anyone who has dealt with the Dean of Students’ office knows that justice is very low on their list of priorities, far below public image. So I think that these students’ comments and their assumption that this rape is a 100% true, factual event, are quite innapropriate given how little we know about the situation. Somewhere, there may be an innocent guy scared to death that everyone on this campus hates him, all because last year he hooked up with the wrong drunk girl.

  2. chris says:

    Signing off on responsibility through the deans office is not admittance of guilt!!!! 5,000 students on this campus received some sort of sanction by the university. I am sure many of those very same people raising the red flags in this situation may have had charges against them, alcohol, noise all things that students are accused of on a daily basis. In all those cases remember signing at the end of the discussion with the dean or the RD??? that was signing YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. There is a higher than likely chance that this kid didn’t fight because signing responsibility was his best course of action. I am not denying sexual assault happens but let me tell you this- if this individual did rape and there was ANY evidence whatsoever other than testimony of this happening, do you think that there would have been a criminal complaint issued? of course there would be, anybody who thinks otherwise is a moron. There have been instances where individuals have been expelled for marijuana possession! Do you think that if there was actual evidence of a rape that he would have been let go with deferred suspension? I am not defending whatever this individual did, as clearly he is not a stand up individual for even being in this situation in the first place. But sometimes we have to hold off this ridiculous rush to judgment as a community. I am embarrassed to say that I am part of this university because of the enforcement of the code of student conduct in many situations but this is not one of them.

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