Letter to the Editor: Campus communication concerns

Lauren Weiss

To the editor:

Like all students, I received a crime alert from the University on Monday morning regarding an off-campus sexual assault. I found the message concerning for a number of reasons.

First of all, the crime alert could have re-victimized the student in a number of ways. The e-mail emphasized the fact that she was walking alone late at night and even made the time of the assault later than the time listed in the official crime alert. Each of those portions of the message blames the victim for her assault, which is completely ridiculous; the rapist is the one at fault. Need I remind the University that it is NOT A CRIME to walk on a sidewalk? The message also spoke of a transit service that was not available to the student and further blamed her for the attack by suggesting that if only she had been more responsible, the attack would not have happened. The attack would not have happened if her rapist had not attacked her.

In addition, I was disappointed that this alert was the first such message that University students received this year with regard to a sexual assault. We received no crime alert when a student was assaulted in her dorm room on the South 40, although students are at a much higher risk for sexual assaults in their residences than outside them.

I hope that the University is more responsible with its crime alerts in the future, both in terms of content and decisions to release such e-mails.

Sincerely,

Lauren Weiss
Class of 2010