Lawsuit-free since 9/14/05

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Administrative Cover-up??

Every semester, there is controversy about whether or not the administration covers up sexual violence on campus (by controversy we mean a few people care, and they hang up signs which get ripped down). Dean Petty gets all teary, saying that if people perceive the administration that way, no one will want to report anything. She swears that nothing like that could ever happen; she cares far too much about the issue to cover anything up. Cissy is just looking out for the best interest of the victim. Interestingly enough, Cissy does a good job of making herself seem like a victim, all "Why would people say that about me, whine whine whine... Where else have we seen this on campus?

We at TBOC! have reputable sources informing us that this is, in fact, not the case. One source, who is an Advocate and a Community Assistant, gave an account that we find very interesting. She received a phone call from a friend one night, asking her to come over. The friend had just experienced relationship violence--her partner choked her. Our source says that when she arrived, her friend was fine physically, but was badly shaken up. A call was put in to the counselor on duty, in the hopes that Jess Parrillo would answer. As an aside, the survivor in this case had discussed previous experiences of sexual violence with Daniel Hernandez, who made her feel as if she was guilty for the act. The counselor on call was neither of these, though... Bill Burns came to the rescue.

Upon arrival, our source tells us, Bill asked not about the survivor's well-being, but about her partner's. It took him about 5 minutes to finally ask the survivor if she was okay. Then he had her door combination changed and called it a night. Granted, it was 11 at night, and our poor counselor friend was probably tired, but it seems like some mention of reporting the incident should have been made. Not to pressure the survivor, or to make her feel uncomfortable at all, but just to put the option out there. Okay, we'll admit that this isn't a case of administrative cover up, but it seems pretty sketchy to us.

Other sources report that they have been told by Dean Petty to go abroad after experiencing sexual violence, to try and get over it. Editors note: I am abroad right now, and I can't help but wonder how many girls on my trip were given that line by Dean P. One survivor of relationship violence alleged that the administration doctored the photos of her injuries. Many of her friends were skeptical at the time, but when combined with all of the other stories, it doesn't seem so far fetched anymore. This same survivor was discouraged from pursuing the matter legally, being told it would all be taken care of at the university level. It was only after she withdrew from the semester that she was able to get police attention.

None of this conclusively says that the administration tries to cover up sexual violence on campus. But the combination of these instances, taken with the other stories floating around campus seem to make a pretty good case. Anyone who has attended a Take Back The Night event, or panel discussions on sexual violence, will see the overwhelming number of women who are survivors of sexual violence. These women are obviously willing to speak about their experiences, so why isn't the university paying attention?

Any survivors of sexual violence who would like to share their experience with the administration can do so by posting in the comments section below, or by sending an email to takebackourcampus@yahoo.com. Anonymity will be respected.

And remember all the options that are out there... CAVA, Renewal House, the Advocates, the Women's Resource Center, or the police, among others.


  • As far as I know, one former SLU faculty actually wrote a book about sexual violence and the administration at SLU, but it's out of print. There's probably still a copy floating around in one of the departments, however...

    By Blogger TickleMeCheney, at 10:33 AM  

  • If there is such a book, there would be copies in the ODY Library. Any idea of the title, or the author? Or what year it was published?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:09 PM  

  • I know that Natalia Singer was involved in a project on North Country sexual violence and crimes, which resulted in an published article (if not a book). It was a collaborative effort with another SLU faculty member as I recall but I can't find it in the library's catalog.

    I don't remember the details, but I seem to remember it had something to do with the Casablanca bar in Governeur and a crime committed there (and possible cover up). My FYP had a lengthy discussion of whether the movie The Accused was based on an incident at the Casablanca. However, it seems the movie was based on a real-life gang rape that occurred on March 6, 1983 at Big Dan's Bar in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

    In either case, there were several incidents of sexual violence or drugging during my first year and we discussed whether the school nurtured a protective, supportive environment for students and whether we felt victims felt comfortable in coming forward. Needless to say, we didn't think it did nurture and I don't remember hearing any results. I think there were three separate cases of ruffies that year.

    - Boz

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:09 PM  

  • 23jj I think we need more information about this same topic, so you shall search more useful and reputable sources and then you can share all the knowledge with us, buy you're right in the main point behind: the sexual violence occurs throughout the world and we can do the best try to fix it.

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