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Dear Trojan Freshmen Letter

The following letter was published in Neon Tommy on August 16, 2013

Dear Trojan Freshmen,

You must have heard by now that USC is in hot water for underreporting and mishandling cases of sexual assault. You’ve heard that USC might not be a safe place. Maybe you are worried that if something happens to you, you won’t have a place to go or someone to turn to.

The Student Coalition Against Rape’s priority is support of those who have experienced sexual violence. SCAR members are students and alumni who are survivors and allies. They will serve to provide peer support and recommend resources for professional care. SCAR also aims to prevent assault by outlining what constitutes rape and the various forms of sexual violence, as well as factors that contribute to that violence.

USC is not out of the ordinary for being a school at which sexual violence occurs. Sexual violence occurs every day at colleges across the nation. It is, sadly, a cultural problem.

When we protested the university’s mishandling of sexual assault cases in May, we were met with indifference. This is why we took our grievances to the federal government and voiced them to the nation.

SCAR is dedicated to helping create a safer campus for you, and the rest of the student body. If you would like to be part of our coalition, please contact us as uscscar@gmail.com.

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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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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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