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UMass to hold open meeting Thursday on sexual assault mishandling

The University of Massachusetts will hold a meeting open to all campus community members Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. “to discuss the sexual assault that has recently been reported in the media,” according to e-mails sent this morning from the office of Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life Jean Kim.

Collegian reporters and several Student Government Association (SGA) officials were invited to the meeting in an e-mail sent Tuesday, but campus officials today opened the meeting to the entire community and have relocated it from a smaller conference room to Campus Center Room 101 “to accommodate as many students as possible,” said an e-mail.

Both Kim and Dean of Students Jo-Anne T. Vanin “will be available to answer questions and to address any concerns you may have on this issue,” said an e-mail.

A University of Massachusetts student confessed to raping a friend and former student in the fall and was mistakenly given a deferred suspension, according an article by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR) at Boston University published late last week. University officials allowed him to stay on campus, a move that now has administrators reexamining UMass’ sanctioning policies and procedures, as reported in Friday’s Collegian.

Repeated requests for further information regarding how the case was mishandled have been thwarted thus far by multiple campus officials. On Tuesday, the assistant dean who reportedly handed down the wrong sanction to a student that allegedly confessed to rape said she wanted to speak to the press, but is being prevented from doing so by administrators.

For continued coverage of this story, click here.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at

2 Responses to “UMass to hold open meeting Thursday on sexual assault mishandling”
  1. Ed Cutting says:

    Questions I would like to see asked:

    1: How many other students received a sanction of “Diferred Suspension” over the past 3 semesters (i.e. FY 09 and last fall)?

    2: What is the breakdown of the offenses in terms of violation and numbers of each violation (this is public record)?

    3: How many students were suspended/expelled over the past 3 semesters?

    4: For what offenses?

    4a: [Answers to #4] is worse than rape????

    5: Was the Assessment Care Team involved in this matter? If not, why not?

    6: Does this incident not constitute prima-facia evidence that the ACT needs to be abolished?

    7: What Constitutional due process protections are accorded to students subjected to an ACT lynching as they meet in their star chambered secrecy?

    8: Do you understand why Ed Cutting is a tad upset with you?

    9: As women, do you not have problems with rapists wandering around the campus?

    10: Will you be submitting your resignations today or at the end of the semester?

  2. TerryTaco says:

    If you opened your mailbox and recieved a notice that you had a meeting with the Dean of Students to discuss sanctions for the charge of sexual assault… and you showed up, and they handed you a paper to sign, accepting that you were responsible, in exchange for deferred suspension, would you sign the paper or defend your innocence? If you honestly DID NOT commit the crime? What if you realized that if you choose not to sign off as responsible, and the charges are brought at a formal hearing, you may be expelled immediately? Many students might sign off as responsible regardless of whether they committed the alleged crimes. There’s really no argument for one’s innocence at this university when you have been formally charged by the Dean of Students. Anyone who believes otherwise is either misinformed or named Jo-Anne Vanin. There have been incidents in which the dean of students office has found 22 year old students responsible of underage drinking in the dorms (they were caught drinking juice out of red cups, and the facts were not disputed by residence life).

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