Columns

Papalia ’13: An open letter to President Paxson — young alums are angry

By
Guest Columnist
Tuesday, December 2, 2014

President Paxson, I am writing to you on behalf of young alums. I am not speaking for all young alums, but for the many recent graduates from the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014 whom I know well and speak to frequently. We are angry. We take the issue of campus sexual assault seriously. Lena Sclove’s ’16 case last spring brought to light a highly dysfunctional university bureaucracy that gives perpetrators who are found guilty of sexual assault dangerously limited repercussions for their crimes. Women’s safety on Brown’s campus is not improving.

On my first day of pre-orientation at Brown, I was warned about sexual assault on campus. A sophomore advised me to avoid Phi Kappa Psi parties because “they’re known for roofie-ing girls’ drinks.” Several of my friends from the class of 2013 were given the same advice by other Brown women. In a recent Herald article, a current Brown senior stated that, as first-years, her friends were also informed of which fraternities on campus use date-rape drugs. Six weeks ago, two female Brown students reported that they had been roofied at a Phi Psi party. One of those students tested positive for GHB, a common date-rape drug, and a test for the other student is still pending. One of these two students reported that she was sexually assaulted on the same night. Five years have passed, and yet women remain unsafe in the same campus spaces as when I began my time at Brown.

Has nothing changed since 1990, when Brown women had to write the names of known rapists on bathroom stalls to protect one another? It is outrageous that women must pass on knowledge by word of mouth in order to know where they can safely have a drink on campus without fear of being roofied and sexually assaulted. Beyond that, it is completely unacceptable that there are any places on Brown’s campus where women cannot safely have a drink.

Last month, I attended a Brown Women’s Leadership Council event, where a panel of successful and influential Brown alums who graduated in the 1970s spoke to an audience predominantly composed of two groups: young alums in their 20s and early 30s and older alums in their 50s and 60s. During the question-and-answer session, a young alumna asked the panelists about their thoughts on the issue of campus sexual assault. One of the first responses to this question was from a panelist who said, “There was no rape at Brown in the ’70s. That just didn’t happen.” Nods of agreement came from other older alums. Older alums cited “alcoholism” and “more women having sexual intercourse in college” as possible causes for sexual assault on campus.

Shockingly, one panelist even stated that the rate of campus sexual assault made her wonder, “Were parietal rules really such a bad thing?” She then explained that parietal rules were residential regulations that existed at Pembroke College to “protect” women — for example, prohibiting men from female dorms after 9 p.m. and mandating that women’s doors be open “a matchbox wide” whenever there was a male visitor in the room.

At a certain point, a member of the WLC stepped in to say that you, President Paxson, are very concerned about the issue of sexual assault and have asked the WLC to advise you on this issue. She concluded by asking the audience to take a moment to acknowledge Brown for not being under federal investigation under Title IX over the University’s handling of sexual assault. As you know, she was incorrect: Brown was added to the list of universities under federal investigation for possible Title IX violations in July.

These comments sparked impassioned responses from young alums in the room and prompted a heated discussion. Many older alums seemed completely uninformed about the critical nature of the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. Even some members of the WLC seemed uninformed about sexual assault occurring on our campus. Considering that more than 50 of the 59 members of the Women’s Leadership Council graduated from Brown more than 20 years ago and no members graduated within the last 10, it is not surprising that some of them are disconnected from the reality of women’s lives on our campus today. These prominent alumni voices do not speak for all of us. Young alums feel differently about this issue than many alums who graduated decades ago, and our voices should be heard as well.

There is far too much at stake to allow people who may be uninformed about sexual assault and campus life to advise on how to address sexual assault at Brown. In order for the University not only to fulfill the minimum federal Title IX requirements but also to serve as a leader among American universities in addressing the sexual assault epidemic, you must hear the voices of people who understand the reality of campus life for Brown women today. Those people include current students and young alums, none of whom serve on the WLC. It is true that a few members of the Task Force on Sexual Assault are current students. But in a recent Herald article, a student member of the task force expressed frustration at the limited baseline knowledge held by faculty and staff members who had to be educated on current policy and procedures and student sentiment about sexual assault after being selected to serve on the task force. The student asserted that this ignorance has slowed the task force’s process, which has resulted in the delay of the release of its report by three months until March. Statistically speaking, numerous sexual assaults will occur on our campus during that three-month period and no changes will have been made to our University’s responses to such assaults. Continued inaction on this issue has dire consequences: affecting students’ lives.

President Paxson, I am writing to inform you that young alums are angry and ashamed. We are ashamed that Brown is under federal investigation under Title IX over our university’s handling of sexual assault. We are ashamed that a perpetrator on our campus was found responsible for sexual misconduct and received a one-year suspension in Sclove’s case. We are ashamed that two women were apparently roofied at a fraternity party on our campus just six weeks ago and one reported being sexually assaulted. We believe that Brown is better than this.

Brown can be a leader in addressing sexual assault among universities in this country. We expect no more delays to the task force’s report. We expect that the University will take the maximum steps possible in response to the task force’s recommendations not just the minimum necessary to meet federal requirements. We expect that all of the people informing your decisions and advising you on this issue understand the reality of sexual assault on campus today and include experts in the field.

There is too much at stake for inaction or uninformed action. Act swiftly and appropriately. Hear our voices, and take immediate steps to address this issue.

Jessie Papalia ’13 is a teacher in Washington, D.C., and can be contacted at
jessica_papalia@alumni.brown.edu.

Due to an editing error, a previous version of this byline misstated Papalia’s email address. It is jessica_papalia@alumni.brown.edu, not jessica_papalia@alums.brown.edu. The Herald regrets the error.

  • 90s Alum

    Jessie,

    Your comments are heartfelt. Clearly you have put thought and emotion into your letter.

    But your accusations are potentially libelous. You do realize, I hope, that no one at Phi Kappa Psi has ever been charged with drugging anyone. And you may not know it, but current investigations are indicating that the perpetrator of the recent “roofing” was not a Phi Psi member. However, you felt comfortable to condemn an entire organization with no proof and only “word of mouth” yourself and that is a shame. You too may be guilty of a crime by doing so.

    Back in 1990, the rape list made national news. One reason is that many names on that list were not actual perpetrators, and their inclusion made the whole effort less rather than more effective. Based on your grad year you were not alive at that time, but many of those who were angry about both the need (and lack of proper arena) for women to speak out about sexual assaults and the methods that some used to speak out – which was legally improper and very unfair to many.

    Brown does need to find better ways to address the campus issue of sexual assaults. And victims need to bring their accusations to court rather than rely on a non-legal oriented university administration. And Phi Psi plus all Greek houses and social groups need to do a better job of protecting their guests at events – roofing happens outside of Wriston, too. But this issue must be dealt with responsibly on all sides, including the accusers and their supporters. Your letter and that of “other young alums” is not the way to improve the system.

    Final comment: just to clarify my bias: 1. I am a male, 2. My girlfriend during college was raped but by a RISD student who was not charged based on her desire not to go to court, 3. I have no connection to any fraternity.

    • ’13 Alumnus

      All Ms. Papalia said was that an older student advised her to avoid PKP parties. Whether a member has ever been charged with drugging anyone is irrelevant. Similarly, she never said or implied that the recent drugger was a Phi Psi member, but simply stated the facts of the case as they are known. But if you think that’s the basis for a libel suit, go ahead and find someone with standing to sue. For her sake, I hope Ms. Papalia is treated in court the way accused rapists tend to be—then she’ll definitely walk without having to pay a dime!

      There are many reasons a victim may have for not going to court (for example, the prospect of having their life decisions and sexual behavior questioned by antagonistic older men), and resolving cases of sexual assault within the university can theoretically do a much better job of addressing one of their critical concerns: the safety and mental health of the accuser. Placing the focus here, instead of on deciding whether and how to punish the accused, is a recognition of the fact that campus life is a closed space where people are frequently forced into contact with one another. In the time it takes for a sexual assault trial to work its way through the courts, the participants could easily graduate, or—as often happens—be beset with the struggle of having been assaulted and possibly continuing to see one’s assaulter on a regular basis, and drop out or withdraw. This isn’t fair and isn’t just.

      I agree with you, of course, that all sides need to find better ways of addressing the issue. But I’m completely mystified that you have so much faith that they’ll do the right thing just because it’s right. The administration has long shown itself completely unwilling to create a real solution for the problem of sexual assault, and they won’t until enough people raise enough hell about it to force them. This column is a wonderful and moving contribution to that end.

      • mccormick

        To ’13 alumnus: I understand your first paragraph and what you are trying to express. I am guessing you are female. Of course, women naturally are going to talk to each other about where the dangers on campus on, which is smart.

        But please understand the other side to the coin. Women understandably try to warn each other about dangerous men and frats, but in the process they either exaggerate stories about men, play telephone, or create stories without checking the facts. We all know that women feel a special bond among each other when they share information about such dangers. And in the process, they exaggerate dangers and threats. the problem is that once a man or frat is labelled with this reputation, he/they becomes isolated. he/they can feel themselves being treated differently, and this in turn creates resentment and hostility. essentially this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. no matter what he/they say, other people assume he/they are guilty. those men in turn will become cynical of women’s accusations of rape and sexual assault. And in essence they will not be taken seriously.

        One way to think of it is quarantining people who are suspected to have ebola. If your criteria for quarantining someone is too low, they you will quarantine many false-positive people. These people will become cynical and distrustful of the system…. from they’re point of view, a lot of innocent people are unnecessarily being quarantined just to protect the group.

        • LexRofes
          • Bobbarino

            you realize it was “dismissed” because a ~$1million settlement was reached between the accuser and the accused, right? (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:n_GKDV1bhScJ:www.golocalprov.com/news/brown-mccormick/+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari) Obviously that isn’t the real McCormick but the McCormick case was an absolute travesty. As I stated in my earlier comment, either Brown turned a blind eye to a rapist and helped him transfer to another school to terrorize other women or they railroaded an innocent student off campus. Neither option is acceptable behavior by the university.

          • fact

            A point of information, $1 million was given by the father of the girl to the guy. (not vice versa).

          • Bobbarino

            sorry if i made it sound like the money was given to the accuser. I very much brought it up specifically because the settlement involved giving money to the accused.

        • ’13 Alumnus

          If I were female, I would have posted under the name ’13 Alumna. Do you take people to have so little empathy that you assume anyone holding my position is female despite evidence to the contrary?

          And yeah, I agree, it sucks to be thought of as a creeper, especially when you don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. But if your only reaction to being labelled a creeper (individually or institutionally) is to get angry, rather than examine your own self-behavior to figure out how you might have acquired such a reputation and try to reform it, then you probably won’t stop being labelled a creeper.

          I’m sure there are some isolated instances of truly kind and innocent men slandered to the point of social ruin by ladyfolk chattering amongst themselves (although even that doesn’t seem to do much in most cases: the frats that have these reputations nonetheless tend to do alright for themselves), but you know what’s orders of magnitude more common, both on campuses and elsewhere throughout the country? Rape.

        • Student ’15

          Blaming women’s “special bond” for creating their own spaces to talk about their safety when the mainstream can’t and won’t accommodate those conversations is just concern trolling. Lord knows no one else will listen.

          And “no matter what he/they say, other people assume he/they are guilty,” don’t make me laugh. If we had a problem with that, we’d see male students sent to jail by the paddywagon.

        • whaaat

          “We all know that women feel a special bond among each other when they share information about such dangers.”

          haha whoa back off you big creep

        • pmjones27

          mccormick: Painting with a broad brush, you state *as if fact* ” Women understandably try to warn each other about dangerous men and frats, but in the process they either exaggerate stories about men, play telephone, or create stories without checking the facts. ”

          Let’s get real. EDIT to reality: “…. in the process SOME either exaggerate stories @ men, SOME play telephone, or SOME create stories without checking the facts.”
          In the absence of the above editing, your comments have no validity or basis in fact whatsoever.

  • Bobbarino

    There was no rape at Brown in the ’70s. That just didn’t happen.”

    Pffft. What BS. Probably think no husband has ever raped his wife prior to 1993 too.

    Sclove’s case is just another one to add to the list. McCormick’s case a few years back (well covered by the ONLY Brown Spectator article that was ever worth the time it took to read) showed that Brown either will facilitate a known rapist’s transfer to another school or railroad an innocent student off campus to protect its donations. Neither being a good look for the university. I’ve wondered if Ruth’s stepping down from University President shortly after the conclusion of that debacle wasn’t a coincidence.

  • Alum Class of 2014

    I am a young alum (class of 2014) and, while I respect your intent, disagree with your position adamantly. It is my view that sexual assault on college campuses is a problem, but I do not believe this warrants hastily and clumsily dealing with a very tricky issue.

    There is also something curious in this article. You open with a crucial disclaimer, i.e. that you do *not* speak for all young alums, but then throughout the remainder suggest that there is a consensus among young alums (“I am writing to inform you that young alums are angry and ashamed”) and you speak on behalf of us all.

    Oversimplification is the enemy of reasoned discussion and progress, and I think it is worth embracing the complexity of this topic, rather than issuing the types of blanket statements that permeate this paper.

    I do not fault your passion, quite the opposite, but would hope you can recognize that this is not simply a black or white issue. Therein may lie the path to a positive path forward.

    • :{

      On that note, I ask the writer Ms. Papalia to outline her own course of action to Ms. Paxson. What would she suggest be done at Brown and all college campuses? Should we revert to single-gendered dorms, which was the norm for Brown students in the 70s, which she points out? She is clearly an articulate and smart individual who is a teacher, so I ask what should campuses do to stop the “rape culture”? Should we enforce a curfew at 9pm?

      • Bobbarino

        It’s pretty clear what she wants. Prompt, student conduct hearings that upon finding a student guilty of assaulting another, require that student leave campus. Feel free to disagree with that, but it’s pretty clear what people propose as the solution. Brown routinely handles criminal cases without using the court system (possession/distribution of alcohol to minors, drug possession/sale to name a few) in a timely manner so why not handle rape as well?

      • :}

        Rape is clearly and obviously an epidemic everywhere and it must be stopped! As such, we must do everything possible to stop it! We should do the following:
        1. prompt student conduct hearings
        2. swift punishment for student
        3. single gendered dorms. Pembroke campus once again should be for girls only. The southern half should be male only.
        4. curfew at 7pm.
        5. If anyone is in the room of the opposite gender, the room MUST be left open.
        6. Sex should be prohibited except between married couple (which probably applies to only a few grad students). That way we will NEVER have to worry about consent. Any act of coitus is against university policy regardless of consent. (some boarding high schools already do this).
        7. Install closed circuit cameras in every room monitored from a discreet location. This will effectively act as rape deterrence.
        8. All parties must have chaperones.

        Feel free to disagree with this, but it’s pretty clear that rape is a true epidemic, and everything possible must be done to stop this growing plague. EVERYTHING. To simply restrict ourselves to prompt student hearings and swift punishment is ludicrous. Anyone who disagrees is clearly a misogynist who wants to turn a blind eye to the rape epidemic.

    • Bobbarino

      You’re being nitpicky with regard to the “young alums” thing. By using the disclaimer it then becomes implicit that any mention of young alums is inherently not all young alums.

      • Alum Class of 2014

        I understand your concern with my focussing in on what you consider a non-issue, and I fear we risk a purely rhetorical argument, but consider the following:

        If a politician says “Americans want jobs” it is understood to imply “most or all Americans” want quality jobs. The desire for meaningful employment is reasonably seen as ubiquitous, and therefore not particularly disputed (though the details might be another story). Would you disagree?

        However, if a politician were to say “Americans don’t think sexual assault is a problem on college campuses” many would, and I believe reasonably so, be upset that the politician is mischaracterizing the national sentiment.

        Whether or not I write to a politician every time they oversimplify an issue is not relevant, what is relevant is that I think, of course, that this oversimplification is also a destructive practice. So, to answer your question, I firmly stand by my assertion that oversimplification of complexity impedes progress.

        • Bobbarino

          And you don’t think the following statements generally apply to most young alumni (these are the sentences that follow the statement you quoted):

          “We are ashamed that Brown is under federal investigation under Title IX over our university’s handling of sexual assault. We are ashamed that a perpetrator on our campus was found responsible for sexual misconduct and received a one-year suspension in Sclove’s case. We are ashamed that two women were apparently roofied at a fraternity party on our campus just six weeks ago and one reported being sexually assaulted. We believe that Brown is better than this.”

          Maybe how to handle it is in dispute but you think anyone is glad we’re being investigated? Glad that a student found guilty of raping another student wasn’t more severely punished (remember, we’re not talking about whether or not he should have been found guilty). Alumni don’t care that students were roofied and assaulted? If the people you know aren’t ashamed by those statements than I’m glad I don’t know who you are.

  • Samantha P.

    Ms. Papalla stated this argument perfectly in my opinion. The denial of this issue is a travesty. Brown turns a blind eye and wishes these cases to go away. Of course it is not solely a Brown University issue, however, the way they have handled recent cases, and not come forward with information is confounding. Take for instance the sexual assault accusation of those football players. The only reason it was brought to light was because the local media covered this.

    Timely topic you think? And what was the result of the internal investigation? Were these men ever disciplined for what they did do, and what they were proven to do. As stated in the last article in the Brown Herald on this case about a week ago, and the numerous comments that followed, many students are angry and would like a response. A civil rights complaint has been followed yet President Paxson is silent!

    It is the least President Paxson could do. Nobody is asking to name names, although it is fairly obvious who one of them is, but there was clearly student misconduct and despicable and humiliating behavior against that young woman, and Brown is being sued because of this case. Come forward President Paxson unless you are trying to hide something and protect the culture that perpetuates this type of behavior.

    Furthermore, are these players, and the player who took the photos and wrote those comments being allowed back on the team next year. There is not way that would be defensible.

    http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20141014-providence-college-student-files-civil-rights-complaint-against-brown-u..ece?click=RB

    http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20140826-brown-university-football-players-joked-about-raping-woman-court-records-show.ece?click=RB

    • fact

      uhmmm… strictly speaking, Paxson did not deal out the punishment for the football players, technically it was the courts who handled it… the girl after all is not at Brown. Paxson is not a court judge, believe it or not.

      • Student ’16

        You need to read the comments fully. We’re talking code of conduct here. Not grand jury. Get it????

      • facts only

        The football players, in their own words, said they raped her in their text messages and took pictures and videos, “fact”. THEY attend Brown.
        Fact. They need to adhere to the these rules and be held accountable when not. This is the discussion. Facts Only.

  • Mel Dougan

    Chris Paxson aids, abets, and protects rapists on Brown University campus. It is not that she is overwhelmed. It is not that she is wading through a job. It is not any fear of lawsuits or federal investigation. It is simply that she is bad. No solution will be effective unless we start with this plain and simple understanding. Look at all the other problems at Brown. Strategic plan. Ray Kelly. Endowment returns. College rankings. So what redeeming accomplishment has she had that might weigh against a move to rid ourselves of her? People do not give the President of the United States this long to settle into a job. Why should we give Paxson longer time, so that she can mess up even more?

    • Connie

      Couldn’t agree more. All about the Endowment and college rankings. Why should Paxson care about rapists on the campus just as long as it can be swept under the rug and the money keeps rolling in…..

  • Jane

    I would never send my daughter to Brown. My husband and I both have our doctorates and are successful professionals. My oldest daughter had the grades and the SAT scores to be accepted to Brown but had no interest in applying. (She is presently at a more elite university.) My younger daughter is doing exceptionally well in high school and I have no reason to believe she could not be accepted at a top tier school. I grew up in RI and live just over the line in Connecticut so the location is perfect. But… I would never let her go to Brown University. Never. Never. Never. Thank you, Jessica Papalia, for your strong voice. Perhaps the “youngsters” can help get the administration get out of the disgraceful mess they have created.

    • waytoslipthatoneinthere

      “(She is presently at a more elite university.)”

      …Thanks Jane. I for one appreciate the anecdotal narratives offered by your achieving daughters, to say nothing of the sheer quality of your parenting skills. I simply hope that your children can someday cherish the passion you have in deciding what schools they can and can not apply to/attend.

      • facts only

        What’s the matter, can’t handle the truth? I’m sure her children will not only “cherish the passion” she has but they will also beware of scumbag football players bearing roofies. Nothing like an education

    • john

      Your probably a Rhode Islander. Interestingly you fled to CT. Why is that? Perhaps instead of bashing Brown you should look at some of the things RI is doing. RI is a state strapped for cash that relies on “get-rich-quick” schemes to bring in cash. The only legitimate sources of income you guys have is RIH and Brown University. This is reflected in university policies… that’s why so much emphasis is put in new building construction to bring in cash for the local economy. That’s why we have the ‘Brown-first’ policy. Perhaps Brown University students suffer because RI pretty much uses Brown as a cash cow, and yet you’re so quick to put down Brown. Examine your own behavior. From 38 studios, to de facto legalized prostitution, gambling, Martin Keller, JWU the state is always looking for ways to bring in cash in at the expense of other people. And you guys always tell yourselves the same lies, “It’s like this everywhere,” or “It doesn’t pay to be nice” and “everything you need is in RI.” Brown is a school full of honest and hard working students and caring faculty and administrators who seek to strengthen the school in spite of distorted rankings and slander from ppl like you. Perhaps instead of saying why you won’t send your children to Brown, you should ask yourself how you can help.

    • ’13 alumna

      Jane, think what you like about Brown. It has certainly been in the national spotlight lately – and for good reason. But if you HONESTLY think that your daughter will not face similar threats at any other school, you’re kidding yourself. Just because “more elite universities” have not been publicly criticized (yet!) does not mean that rape culture is not just as pervasive on their campuses as well.

      • hehe

        bill cosby…

    • Tim

      Condescending much? Just curious, what was the point of adding she’s at a more elite university? Did that add to your argument?
      Also, it’s surprising that you and your husband, both of whom have “doctorates and are successful professionals”, are ignorant enough to think this isn’t occurring at other “more elite” universities as well

      • jane

        Tim, 3 points:
        1. I was being facetious using the term elite. Perhaps I should have put it in quotes. Whenever I hear people use that term about a university it makes me chuckle for many reasons which are not worth discussing.
        2. My eyes are wide open. I know that there are sexual predators every where. What angers me about the Brown situation is the lack of action taken by the administration. Consider the most recent situation involving the Brown football players. Some schools have strict policies about behavior and tend to discipline much quicker. The administration at Brown is, at best, apathetic about the long history of sexual abuse at their “elite” university.
        3. My point is that when a potential applicant considers a school they should look at as many factors as possible to get the best fit. A school where the administration allows a student who admits to witnessing the raping a young woman via text and takes humiliating pictures of her to disperse to continue with his studies is not the place for my daughter. (I believe that young woman was raped but am not even talking about that.) The athlete will be a graduate of an “elite” university. Perhaps Forbes and USA news should have a new category when they generate their rankings.

    • Brown Alum

      To paraphrase Dan Ackroyd’s weekly rejoinder to Jane Curtin in their Saturday Night Live routine, “Jane, you ignorant, patronizing, condescending, arrogant slut.” You would think that Brown is the only college dealing with the sexual assault issue. Had you used your “doctorate” and your “successful professional” brain to spend 10 seconds on Google, you’d have found that, as of August 13, 76 colleges were being investigated for Title IX sexual violence issues, including Harvard, Harvard Law School, Princeton and Dartmouth. And, an additional 10 seconds on Google would have informed you that Yale has been the subject of endless criticism (and litigation) for the way it handles sexual assault. And, with the help of your “exceptional” daughter attending the “more elite university,” you’d be able to conclude that the problem is a nearly universal one in the college setting, one that your daughters will not escape by attending “more elite universities.” So yes, the most elite of this country’s elite universities, even including Brown, are dealing with the problem. Thanks for your arrogant two cents.

      • Joshua

        While there are 76 colleges that are being investigation, Brown University certainly has had too many incidents over a short period of time not being addressed. I agree with Jane. The fact is President Paxson turns a blind eye. Read about these cases….where is punishment for the perpetrators????? I live in RI and Brown University has always been known for that arrogant, we can do as we wish, attitude. Of course it is a crime on all college campuses, that is not the point. It’s Brown’s lack of response to the cases.

    • TheRationale

      “More elite institution.” I think the more common pronunciation is “didn’t get accepted.”

  • Larry

    In my opinion Samantha P. put it perfectly. Why is Brown cowering in the shadows while countless people are demanding answers? Simply look at the number of comments that this story is generating and yet Paxson remains silent, how is that behavior even tolerated?
    She wants people to think that what happens behind the Van Wickle gates is Brown University’s business and nobody else’s? What kind of administrator behaves like this? Students, alumni, as well as law abiding citizens are demanding answers…where are they President Paxson?!

  • Ray

    Hey Fact…you need to get the “facts”! Paxson is not a court judge, no kidding. She is, by all accounts, not much of an administrator either. We’re talking about her non adherence to the university’s own code of conduct. These athletes raped this girl and stated so in their texts and even took pictures of it! I’m thinking that there is a student conduct violation in there somewhere that a college president should enforce, just sayin!

  • Carrissa

    hello waytoslipthatoneinthere, I for one agree with Jane. What seems to be the problem with a mother trying to look out for her daughters well being? Jane is simply trying to not have her daughters enroll her children in an institution that allows rapists to attend classes there. What will Brown do for an encore, offer sexual assault as an elective?

  • Dismayed

    I am dismayed by some of the responses to this article including the mom who believes her daughters will be safer at other and even more “elite” colleges (are you kidding) and also the defenders of the good names of frats (get a clue). Good for Papalia! Violence including sexual violence against women on college campuses is iNDISPUTABLE along with the evidence that members of fraternities and sports teams are disproportionally the offenders. This is not to condemn all members of frats and sports teams; the perpetrators of this violent crime are a minority within these communities and not exclusively from these communities. I would say that those members who are not the perpetrators but have allowed/enabled/remained silent within the ranks also share in the responsibility. It is also known that the perpetrators are repeat offenders and is one of the many reasons that the response from administrators and the justice system needs to be strong and absolute in the condemnation and punishment of this crime. The issue is not specific to Brown but Papalia’s article challenges the administration at Brown to come forward, significantly improve support for the victims including hiring specialists as the University of Virginia has done, and ensure that this violence is absolutely never tolerated on campus. One of the many important steps is to educate the bystanders and friends on how to act, react and support the victims.

    • dismayed as well

      very true….”that those members who are not the perpetrators but have allowed/enabled/remained silent within the ranks also share in the responsibility” President, Head Coach, Deans. I agree with Samantha P. Looking at the case with the football players, even though they were not indicted by a Grand Jury, they MUST be held accountable in some way and adhere to the student code of conduct.

      • jane

        “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

    • jane

      Dear Dismayed,

      So, the use of my word elite was meant to be sarcastic. Should’ve used quotes. Let’s get over that.

      I tell my daughters when they are in high school the following in anticipation for college:
      1. never put your drink down
      2. if you are about to be date raped then fight like hell (bite hard and hold on, scratch, grab balls, whatever) and look them in the eye and say, “Do what you feel you need to but I’m telling you my Mom is a crazy and she will hurt you eventually.”
      3. The minute you are free call 911. Right outside the door. Don’t get up. Demand an ambulance NOT just the police. If you don’t have your phone for whatever reason do it as soon as you possibly can. Fall down and don’t get up and say you need an ambulance and the cops. Preferably, a female cop if that’s possible. Cry, scream, be hysterical. You deserve to.
      4. The second call is to your Mamma. Do NOT call your young girlfriends or a counselor. I will be there by your side ASAP.
      Obviously, instructions are different for the assailant who is a stranger and has a gun etc. These instructions are for the “boy you know”, your classmate, your “friend”.
      Dismayed, I have this conversation with my 13 year old. That’s sad. I am well informed and know of the dangers to my daughters at all universities. (In fact, my oldest daughter will likely enter a profession where sexual harassment and assault is sadly rampant. We discuss this topic often.) What dismays me (or, more accurately, saddens me) is the response of the Brown administrations to recent allegations. The fact that the administration continues to allow football players to attend school after the facts have been revealed in the media is mind boggling.

      • Joshua

        Great advice to your girls Jane! More young women need to hear this.

  • Guest

    Just posted by CNN and other news sources — the Rolling a Stone story accusing Phi Kappa Psi’s UVa chapter of a gang rape has been shown to be false. Facts seem to have overridden the accusations made by the author and many on that campus.

    Jessie and others – watch the accusations made against Greek houses here… unless you have facts, then it is better not to post here-say. And remember, the recent roofing sexual assault has been shown not to be by a member of the house that was accused in the opinion piece above.

    Like 90s Alum says below – potential libel.

    • guest2

      The Duke Lacrosse players? … interestingly one of them later rematriculated at Brown.

      • guest 3

        text messages in the words of football players saying they walked right in and raped her, among other things, don’t lie either.

        Just take your few cases, and stack them up against the EPIDEMIC of sexual assault cases agains women.

        • :}

          exactly! there is an EPIDEMIC! Let’s enforce preventive measures to stop assault and rape! Prohibit sex altogether like they do in many high school boarding schools. We would never have to determine consent. We won’t have to worry about STDs or AIDS (as much). This would make an obvious dent in the epidemic!

          These measure may seem draconian, but in this milieu, we must do everything necessary.