SCAR in the news

SCAR stands alongside colleges from across the country to announce filing against USC

Alexa Schwartz and Tucker Reed attended a press conference in New York City yesterday to announce the filing of civil rights complaints against the University of Southern California, the University of California at Berkeley, Swarthmore College and Dartmouth College.  Gloria Allred, who represents filers at Occidental College, mediated the press event.

The complaint against the University included stories documenting multiple violations against eleven named students (including Schwartz and Reed) as well as information regarding further violations experienced by over one-hundred other current and former Trojans.  The 100-plus-page complaint was compiled by both SCAR members and WSA members, with invaluable guidance and support provided by allies at Occidental College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The complaint is open to revision, and SCAR is still accepting stories and data from current students and staff as well as Trojan alumni.  If you are interested in lending your support to the complaint, rest assured that you may do so anonymously by using our Title IX form here on the SCAR website.

For further information about the press conference and the other schools in attendance, you can read more at The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post.

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SCAR in the news

The following article by Dalina Castellanos was published on May 22, 2103 and is reprinted from The Los Angeles Times.

Activists accuse colleges of not responding to sexual assault complaints

Students and activists joined together Wednesday to file complaints against colleges and universities nationwide alleging that the schools have failed to follow federal laws, including those involving the reporting of sexual assault crimes and discrimination.

Attorney Gloria Allred announced that complaints were filed against Swarthmore College, Dartmouth CollegeUSC and UC Berkeley on Wednesday morning.

Some of these were Title IX complaints alleging a hostile environment for women. Others charged the colleges with violating the federal Clery Act, which requires accurate reporting of campus crimes.

“We are asking the United States Department of Education to open an investigation into these complaints and take appropriate actions to force these colleges to comply with the law or risk losing their federal funding,” Allred said.

Complaints were filed previously against Occidental College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Women from all over this country are demanding that their colleges stop these rapes and sexual assaults from happening,” Allred said. “They will no longer accept the status quo where rapes and sexual assaults are being swept under the rug and condoned by college administrators.”

Occidental’s students filed a complaint in April and earlier this month, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights announced its investigation into the allegations.

“There are 5,000 colleges and universities in the United States. Every day on these campuses students face rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual harassment,” said Occidental professor and criminologist Danielle Dirks.

“These behaviors have horrifyingly become a normal part of students’ educational experiences and … are routinely betrayed by their institutions who treat them with indifference.”

Last month, Jim Tranquada, a college spokesman, said that since 2010, Occidental has updated its sexual-misconduct policies and procedures and trained more faculty, staff and students in how to respond effectively to reports of sexual assault.

USC’s Student Coalition Against Rape also filed a complaint Wednesday.

“We hope that our actions today will encourage our university to support reporting of sexual assaults and to punish sexual offenders,” said Tucker Reed, the group’s co-founder and an alleged rape victim who spoke at a news conference in New York City to announce the filings.

Reed said the university hired investigators to look into her case, only to be told that their process was “educative,” not punitive.

“But when students are punished for other kinds of violent assaults, or even for simple cheating, why shouldn’t they be punished for rape?” she said.

A university spokesman said he had not had a chance to review the complaint.

“In all reported instances, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate disciplinary, as well as interim remedial, action. Previous investigations have resulted in a wide variety of sanctions, up to the dismissal of students from the university, including in cases where no criminal charges were filed,” according to a statement from USC’s Division of Student Affairs.

“While the university remains committed to addressing student concerns and protecting the rights of all students, the university’s disciplinary process cannot and does not take the place of the judicial system. Any student victim of a crime has the option of reporting it to the Los Angeles Police Department.”

A UC Berkeley student said she was sexually assaulted her freshman year by a student “leader” who she alleged also assaulted four of her peers. Seven months after she filed a report with a campus group, she said she was notified there had been an investigation and that the case had been solved through “an early resolution” process. His graduation two weeks after she received the email removed the case from the university’s jurisdiction.

UC Berkeley spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said the school had not had the opportunity to review the complaint, however, she said the campus “takes sexual assault very seriously and we are constantly working to strengthen our efforts to prevent such acts from occurring and to thoroughly report and investigate such matters when they arise.”

“We also seek to ensure that students receive the counseling and the support services they need when coping with such a difficult ordeal,” Gilmore said.

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SCAR stages its first protest

On Monday, May 13, 2013, members of the Student Coalition Against Rape convened on the steps outside the Student Union building at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center to protest SJACS committee members Raquel Torres-Retana’s and Lindsey Goldstein’s ambiguous and under-cited findings in Tucker Reed’s rape case.

The protest was covered by local news outlets and photographed by Kylie Nicholson.

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All images courtesy of Kylie Nicholson.

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Alumni support, Resources, SCAR in the news, Self advocacy

SCAR has been overwhelmed by student, alumni and parent support regarding the administration’s handling of Tucker’s sexual misconduct case.  We’ve received messages all day asking what should be said and who it should be said to.

FORM LETTER for CURRENT STUDENTS:

FORM LETTER for ALUMNI:

FORM LETTER for PARENTS:

NOTE:  PLEASE CC SCAR’S OFFICIAL EMAIL ADDRESS SO WE CAN KEEP A RUNNING TALLY ON THE NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS THE ADMINISTRATION RECEIVES.

studentcoalitionagainstrape at gmail dot com
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Please email your letter to SCAR as well as to the following administrators:

University President C.L. Max Nikias at
president@usc.edu
Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Jackson at
mjackson@usc.edu
SJACS director Raquel Torres-Retana at
torresre@saemail.usc.edu
SJACS adjudicator Lindsey Goldstein at
lgoldste@usc.edu

SCAR form letters for concerned Trojans and allies

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Alumni support, Self advocacy

SJACS dismisses Tucker Reed’s sexual misconduct complaint

“This office acknowledges that [the two students’] perspectives on the sexual intercourse differ.”

Regardless of which “perspective” USC prefers to accept as “more likely” based on a “preponderance of the evidence” — it’s not okay to call rape “sexual intercourse.” It’s not okay to tell a rape victim her rapist is a “good person.” It’s not okay to refuse to let an advocate sit in the room with that rape victim, and then badger that victim when she’s alone until she starts crying. It’s not okay to never contact witnesses, and to schedule interviews with certain witnesses two weeks to a month down the line. It’s not okay to take six months to render a decision in something that should have taken 60 days or less. It’s not okay.  Trojans deserve better.

If you are as bothered by the pattern of deliberate indifference exhibited by SJACS commitee members Raquel Torres-Retana and Lindsey Goldstein — University staff in charge of adjudicating reports of sexual misconduct — as we are, we encourage you to email the administration involved in handling these matters:

University President C.L. Max Nikias at
president@usc.edu
Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Jackson at
[Mr. Jackson is now on sabbatical, so he will not be answering for the violations he let occur on his watch.]
SJACS director Raquel Torres-Retana at
torresre@saemail.usc.edu
SJACS adjudicator Lindsey Goldstein at
lgoldste@usc.edu

ETA:  In light of recent developments, SCAR is respectfully requesting that our official email address (studentcoalitionagainstrape at Gmail) be CC’ed on all emails sent to the above individuals.  We want to ensure that the administration accurately represents the volume of correspondence received regarding this issue.

And if you have been exposed to the Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards committee — specifically Raquel Torres-Retana — please contact us confidentially using the form below:

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Alumni support, Resources

Interested in contributing to SCAR’s efforts?

ETA:  In light of recent developments, SCAR is respectfully requesting that our official email address (studentcoalitionagainstrape at Gmail) be CC’ed on all emails sent to the above individuals.  We want to ensure that the administration accurately represents the volume of correspondence received regarding this issue.

SCAR has received an outpouring of support from the Trojan community in response to media coverage of the issues facing students such as SCAR co-director Tucker Reed.

Several alumni have offered to donate to Tucker’s defense, and we are consequently taking steps to establish a fund for Trojan survivors who may face legal fees that interfere with their ability to cover tuition costs and pay back student loans.

But there are several avenues of support that are invaluable to raising awareness about this important issue within the Trojan community:

  • Voicing your concern (by way of letter or email) regarding the wording of current policies.
  • Voicing your concern regarding the application of current policies.
  • Voicing your concern regarding the discrepant treatment of victimless crimes such a plagiarism (which can result in suspension and expulsion) and felonies such as sexual assault and rape perpetrated against fellow students (which result in “educative” sanctions such as essay-writing.)
  • Requesting to join SCAR’s private Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/487745974613280/
  • Submitting your own stories of administrative leniency regarding sexual misconduct.

For any questions on how else you can contribute to SCAR’s goal of eliminating interpersonal violence on the USC campus, do not hesitate to email us at studentcoalitionagainstrape at gmail dot com.

FORM LETTER FOR USC ALUMNI

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