Allies, Self advocacy

SCAR ally Alexandra Brodsky, a founding member of the “Know Your IX” movement, is petitioning the Department of Education to more stringently enforce the protection of students’ civil rights at institutions of higher education. Please take a moment to sign this groundbreaking petition, which will be personally delivered following a rally next week in Washington, D.C.

From the petition:

One in four women will be raped by the time she graduates college. And, often, survivors are betrayed by the school administrations they turn to after their assault. In this past year alone, hundreds of survivors from dozens of schools have bravely shared their experiences. Almost all have been silenced or ignored by their campus administrations, and most have been forced to drop classes, clubs, sports teams, jobs – or abandon their educations entirely – in order to ensure their basic safety.

These practices aren’t only unethical; they’re illegal. In 1972, Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments – the landmark civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and guarantees students the fundamental right to education free from sexual violence and harassment. Yet, over 40 years later, little has changed: according to the National Institute of Justice, nearly two in three schools don’t follow anti-violence law.

Some of these schools have been investigated by the Department of Education (ED), the body charged with enforcing Title IX. But ED’s willingness to accept colleges’ promises to change their ways — rather than levy sanctions and publicly declare offending schools as “noncompliant” — isn’t working. In the face of ED’s leniency, schools aren’t changing their ways, and students continue to suffer sexual violence and institutional abuse.

To create safe, fair campuses across the country, we call on ED to join us in the fight against campus sexual violence by enforcing Title IX law.  The stakes couldn’t be higher. More than four decades after Title IX, it is long past time we be able to enjoy our right to safe education.
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Please take a moment to sign and share the petition with everyone you know. This affects you regardless of your gender. This affects your sisters and brothers who currently attend college, or have not yet started college.  This affects your children. Act now.

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The Department of Education must adapt to new proof that colleges are not cooperating.

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Allies, SCAR in the news, Self advocacy

Our OSAC friends at Occidental are the cover story for the latest issue of LA Weekly

In Jessica Ogilvie’s June 27 piece Rape at Occidental College: Official Hush-Up Shatters Trust, Occidental allies Leah Capranica, Carly Mee, Audrey Logan, Danielle Dirks and Caroline Heldman describe a hostile environment in which, for example, Occidental staff belittle and dismiss the goals of the Occidental Sexual Assault Coalition.  Ogilvie cites an example of college counsel Carl Botterud accusing victims of vilifying men and announcing that OSAC members could go “fuck” themselves.

The eye-opening article also includes mention of the May press conference held in New York with Gloria Allred and delegates from USC, UC Berkeley, Swarthmore and Dartmouth.  SCAR co-president Tucker Reed is quoted discussing the USC complaint, and the federal civil rights and school policy violations alleged therein.

The article also features quotes from Allred and prominent psychologist and activist David Lisak, who offers a compelling argument for why rape is such an under-reported crime.  The article mentions how Lisak’s work suggests that 90 percent of college males who commit sexual violence are repeat offenders.

Ogilvie and Heldman also address a shocking but persuasive suspicion:

Colleges and universities have a disincentive to be upfront about rape allegations made on their campuses. If the number of such incidents got out, critics suggest, colleges could have a PR nightmare on their hands — one that could be costly come enrollment time. “The first wave of colleges that tell the truth about rates of rape and sexual assault on campus,” Oxy’s Heldman says, “will take a hit with admissions.”

Please check out Ms. Ogilvie’s complete article at LA Weekly’s website.

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Alumni support

Please support the SCAR Defense Fund.

Because the University of Southern California has not taken any legal action in protecting its students, Trojan survivors of interpersonal violence have been forced to pursue justice and protection out of their own pockets. The costs of legal counsel have weighed greatly on each and every one of these students, especially when combined with individual costs of counseling and rehabilitation, as many do not feel safe discussing these matters with the University.

For this reason, SCAR is campaigning to establish a fund to help defray the legal fees for student victims of rape.

No one who is victimized and then forced to shoulder the burden of pursuing recourse should have to face the additional burden of affording mounting legal fees.  SCAR strongly believes that student victims should not be expected to assume the responsibility of legal bills on top of the cost of school tuition and college loans.

It is SCAR’s hope that through this campaign, we can establish a precedent of providing financial aid to students — male and female — who pursue legal action for sexual violence that occurred while working toward earning their degrees.

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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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Uncategorized

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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